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PG&E reminds public to practice safety on National Safe Digging Day

Posted: 12:34 PM, Aug 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-11 15:34:22-04
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PG&E is reminding customers and contractors of best practices on National Safe Digging Day.

The utilities company wants the public to call their 811 line at least two days ahead of any digging project.

811 is a free service that allows utility workers to come out to a dig site. Workers will mark the location of any underground lines to help individuals dig safely and avoid potential repair costs or personal injury.

Customers and contractors can also submit an 811 request online at 811express.com.

PG&E's vice president for Gas Operations said in a statement that safety is the company's most important responsibility.

"Guessing or assuming the location of an underground utility line is dangerous, and the consequences of hitting the unmarked line can be serious," he said. "No digging project is too small. Whether you're a contractor building a high-rise building or a homeowner installing a fence or conducting landscaping or renovation, calling 811 can prevent damages and injury and even save a life."

According to PG&E, there were more than 1,700 third-party dig-ins on PG&E's underground infrastructure across Northern and Central California in 2018.

The company says residential dig-ins accounted for 22 percent of the third-party dig-ins. PG&E says 811 was not called in advance for 86 percent of those residential dig-ins.

For safe digging, PG&E recommends leaving utility flags and markings in place until a project is finished. The company also warns customers to be aware of signs of a natural gas leak by smelling for "rotten egg" odor, listening for hissing or bubbling, looking for dirt spraying in the air and dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.