Chattanooga Gas promotes safe-digging practices year-round, and to celebrate 811 Day (recognized nationally on Aug. 11), it reminds residents to call 811 before you dig. Whether a professional excavator or a do-it-yourself homeowner, state law requires a call to 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. As part of the national 811 day, beginning Friday, Aug. 9 -11, Chattanooga Gas is planting 811 miniature green shovels near community parks to raise awareness about safe digging practices. The shovels will be 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.
“Safe digging is vital to the safety of our employees, public and the communities we serve, and to our commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable, affordable natural gas,” said 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 and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 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 your family and community safe, prevents damage to underground utilities and saves on potentially costly fines and service interruptions; plus it’s the law.
After a click or call to 811, Tennessee811 then notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are sent to the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground utilities with flags, paint or both. Chattanooga Gas encourages homeowners and contractors to follow the below safe digging guidelines and always dig with CARE:
Call Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor project involving digging, customers are advised to make contacting Tennessee 811 by dialing 811 part of their plans. Calls to the free locating service should be made three days in advance. The 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: Only use 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 distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas is present, call 911 or the Chattanooga Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 1-866-643-4170 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or open flame.
For more information about natural gas safety, visit https://chattanoogagas.com/safety/811.