Now that spring is here, many people are beginning to start their yard work. In the United States, there is about 2.1 million miles of low-pressure natural gas distribution pipelines crisscrossing each other. Accidently digging into one of these pipelines can create a very serious mishap. That is why April is National Safe Digging Month—created in order to educate others on the importance of distribution pipeline leaks.
Hitting a natural gas pipeline creates an extremely hazardous environment that can potentially lead to fires.If you smell gas, do not light use any matches, lighters, light switches, telephones, doorbells, and cigarettes, as they can all create a spark and lead to a fire.
However, accidentally digging into a pipeline is entirely avoidable. The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is behind the “Call Before You Dig” campaign. This campaign is used to teach people about the importance of dialing 811 before you begin digging in your yard. Not only is dialing 811 the law, but it is also the safe thing to do.
The 811 service is completely free and is very simple. All you have to do is dial 8-1-1 and your call will be routed to a local one call center. You will speak with an operator and tell them where you intend to be digging. They will also ask you why you will be digging and what local utilities companies will need to be notified. Call about 72 hours prior to digging and a locater will come to your home in a few days to mark the approximate location of underground lines, pipes, and cables.