Don’t put out the lights, PSE urges — call before you dig

With the start of summertime outdoor projects, such as building a new fence or deck, planting trees and shrubs, or even pulling out a tree stump, Puget Sound Energy is asking homeowners and excavators to call the 811 dig hotline before they dig. To avoid potential hazards with striking or digging up underground utility lines, all utilities must be marked before the start of digging.

  • Saturday, May 31, 2008 9:00am
  • News

With the start of summertime outdoor projects, such as building a new fence or deck, planting trees and shrubs, or even pulling out a tree stump, Puget Sound Energy is asking homeowners and excavators to call the 811 dig hotline before they dig.

To avoid potential hazards with striking or digging up underground utility lines, all utilities must be marked before the start of digging. Washington state law requires homeowners and their contractors to call 811 at least two business days before digging depths of 12 inches or more to prevent serious injuries or costly property damage. (Any digging on commercial property or in the right-of-way, regardless of depth, requires a call.)

After the call is made, a utility representative will mark the location of the underground lines at no charge.

In 2007, there were more than 1,800 accidental excavator and homeowner dig ups approximately five per day throughout the year to PSEs 24,000 miles of underground natural gas lines and 9,500 miles of buried power lines.

Preventing damage to our electric and natural gas system by contractors, excavators and homeowners is one of our greatest safety challenges, said Bert Valdman, PSE executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Be careful when digging, because a scratch, dent or gouge to a natural gas pipe could become a safety concern, added Valdman.

PSE advises anyone who may have damaged natural gas pipes or electric systems, or who smells the odor of natural gas, to take these steps:

• Quickly move a safe distance from the damaged line.

• Call 911 after you are at a safe distance.

• Report the damage to Puget Sound Energy at 1-888-225-5773.

For more information about the call before you dig law, visit www.callbeforeyoudig.org.


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