Austin, Texas – Texas Gas Service is reminding everyone to continue to exercise vigilance before beginning any digging projects to prevent outages caused by hitting underground utility lines.
“After the historic winter storm, a record number of homeowners, plumbers and contractors are digging to make repairs or remove trees,” says Kimberly Carter, director of operations, Texas Gas Service. “The public plays a critical role in helping keep everyone safe by protecting underground utilities since damage to pipelines from excavation can result in outages for the community.”
Underground utility lines can be anywhere, including residential yards, sidewalks, driveways, streets, rights-of-ways, fields, creeks and other water crossings. Calling 811 is state law.
To help excavators avoid damage to underground utilities and promote awareness, Texas Gas Service has created a dedicated web page (TexasGasService.com/excavators) which includes videos, resources, damage prevention laws and safe digging tips.
Texas Gas Service offers the following five safe digging tips:
- Call 811
Call 811 at least two full business days before your excavation starts. You can also submit your request online or via the Texas811 app.
- Verify the Marks Are Fresh and Complete
Ensure the markings are not from someone else's work or a previous project. Verify all utilities have marked their lines and check that marks are complete.
- Respect the Tolerance Zone
The tolerance zone which is the area located on either side of the pipe where you must use non-mechanized equipment. By law, you must hand dig, or soft dig, a minimum of 18 inches plus 1/2 the diameter of the pipe.
- Dig within the Project Area
Make sure that you are only digging within the project area that you submitted to 811.
- Smell Gas, Act Fast!
If you smell gas, leave the area immediately, then call 911 and Texas Gas Service at 800-959-5325.