South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Call 811 before you dig to prevent gas pipeline damage


August 7, 2007

Building a deck? Planting a tree? Installing a mailbox? Beginning this week, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania customers and residents across Pennsylvania can call the new national 811 hotline before they dig.

Effective May 1, the FCC has designated 811 as a national hotline to make calling before you dig easier. Dialing 811 will automatically direct callers to the Pennsylvania One Call System, who will then alert the appropriate underground facility owners – like Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania – of your intent to dig. The facility owners will identify underground lines or facilities at your work site.

The number one cause of natural gas pipeline damage is from third parties digging near facilities. If you are landscaping or planning a construction project, state law requires you to contact the Pennsylvania One Call System three workings days (not including holidays and weekends) before any landscaping, excavation or construction project.

“By calling 811, individuals or professional excavators can have underground utility lines marked and prevent underground utility damages, harm to property or individuals, disrupting service to an entire neighborhood and avoid the potential for fines or repair costs,” said Dan Cote, general manager operations for Columbia Gas. “We encourage any person planning to dig to call 811 before beginning work at home or on the job site.”

This service is free for non-profit organizations and homeowners doing work on their own residential property. Contractors who do not belong to participating associations and non-member facility owners are assessed a fee.

Here are six simple tips to avoid damaging underground utility facilities:

Determine your project area and mark with white paint

• Call the Pennsylvania One Call System at 811.

• Make sure you know the county and township you're working in.

• Provide the name and contact information for the person digging.

• Allow time for the company to mark off underground utility service.

• Dig with caution and care and remember, safety first.

More information about the Pennsylvania One Call System can be found at More information about 811 can be found at


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