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Front Page - Friday, August 16, 2019

Chattanooga Gas recognizes safe digging practices on 811 Day

As part of national 811 Day (recognized on Aug. 11), Chattanooga Gas planted miniature green shovels near community parks to raise awareness about safe digging practices.

The shovels are located near Miller, Renaissance, Ross’s Landing, Coolidge and Walnut St. Bridge parks. Participants that locate a shovel can present it to select Clumpies locations and redeem a free ice cream.

State law requires professional excavators and do-it-yourself homeowners to call 811 before starting any outdoor digging project.

In 2018, Chattanoogans who did not call 811 before digging caused over 225 gas outages for themselves and their neighbors.

“Safe digging is vital to the safety of our employees and the communities we serve,” says Emeka Igwilo, vice president of operations support at Southern Company Gas, the parent company of Chattanooga Gas.

The nationwide toll-free number to have underground utilities marked is 811. Dialing 811 in advance of digging projects, such as planting a garden, tree or shrub, building a deck, or installing a mailbox or fence, keeps communities safe, prevents damage to underground utilities and saves on potentially costly fines and service interruptions, Igwilo added.

After a click or call to 811, Tennessee 811 then notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground utilities with flags, paint or both.

Chattanooga Gas encourages the public to follow these safe digging guidelines:

Call before you dig

When starting an outdoor project involving digging, customers are advised to contact Tennessee 811. Calls to the free locating service should be made three days in advance.

Requests to have utility operators mark underground facilities, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Allow the required time for marking

After calling 811, wait the required time to have underground utility lines marked before digging. The approximate location of underground utility lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. The color used for natural gas is yellow.

Respect the marks

Use only hand digging tools to uncover the area carefully around a utility when you need to dig close by.

Excavate carefully

Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to call 811 to have lines re-marked.

If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally or the rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas is present, call 911 or the Chattanooga Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 866 643-4170 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or open flame.

Source: Chattanooga Gas