Traditionally, outdoor gardening activities ramp up around March and April with the arrival of spring. It’s probably even more so this year. With the coronavirus outbreak keeping many people at home, working in the garden has become a way for many families to relax, cope with boredom, and even gain a sense of security by growing their own food.
While we want everyone to explore the joys of growing a garden or beautifying a backyard, we also want to remind you to do it safely. The entire month of April is dedicated as National Safe Digging Month. This serves as a reminder to all people to call 811, at least two working days before digging, to have the approximate location of underground utility lines marked. This process helps prevent injuries, property damage, and inconvenient utility outages that can impact an entire neighborhood.
It's important to remember that gas pipelines can be located anywhere — under streets, sidewalks, or even your yard. Damaging a pipeline can cause a dangerous break or leak that results in injury or expense. Homeowners often make risky assumptions about whether they should get their utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call - even "small" projects like planting trees and shrubs.
Here are some important things to remember to keep you and the community safe:
- Don't make a judgment call; make a phone call to 811 or submit a request at www.call811.com at least two working days in advance (not including the date of notification). SDG&E will mark the location of buried utility-owned gas pipelines and other lines, free of charge.
- Even if you've hired a contractor, make sure the contractor calls 811 to have lines marked.
- Many utilities are buried just a few inches below ground. Only use hand tools to dig within 24 inches of marked gas lines.
- Notify us immediately if you damage a pipeline at 1-800-411-7343. No damage is too small to report. Even a slight gouge, scrape or dent could impair pipeline function or lead to a leak.
Whether it is a small project or a large home improvement project, National Safe Digging Month is a way to remind us all to call 811 before starting any digging project. We want you all to stay safe.
Note: SDG&E does not mark customer-owned natural gas lines, which typically run from the natural gas meter to the customer's natural gas equipment and/or appliance. To have customer-owned lines located and marked before a project, we advise customers to contact a qualified pipe-locating professional.