COLUMBUS — In conjunction with National 811 Day on Tuesday, August 11, Columbia Gas of Ohio is reminding customers to follow the law and call 811 before planting a garden, building a fence, or starting any other outdoor project that requires digging.
“With the summer heat in full swing and more people spending time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohioans are turning to do-it-yourself (DIY) work in and around their yards,” said Lisa Carmean, Vice President and General Manager, Operations for Columbia Gas of Ohio. “National 811 Day is the perfect opportunity to remind folks of the importance of calling 811 at least 48 hours prior to digging. The free service can prevent potentially dangerous gas leaks while ensuring homes stay fully connected with critical services during the pandemic.”
811 is a national number that connects Ohioans to Ohio811. When a call is placed to 811, Columbia Gas and other utilities are notified. The utilities will then visit the dig area and mark the facilities with flags at no cost to the customer.
Digging can only begin once the marking process is complete. And even after the facilities are located, digging within 18 inches of a marked line should be completed carefully by hand.
If an underground gas line is damaged while digging, STOP what you’re doing, LEAVE the area immediately, and from a safe place, CALL 911 and Columbia Gas of Ohio at 1-800-344-4077. Columbia Gas must arrive on the scene to either make repairs or ensure the area is safe before the project can continue.
“Do not ignore a damaged facility or attempt to repair it on your own,” Carmean added. “We understand projects have deadlines, but continuing to work around a damaged pipeline can create an even more dangerous situation for you and your neighbors. Safety is our top priority, and we urge you to err on the side of caution and give our crews a call to investigate.”
Carmean notes that both Columbia Gas of Ohio crews and utility locating services are considered essential during the pandemic. However, field personnel are taking extra safety precautions to reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.