People urged to call 811 before digging

Maybe you have thought about everything you need to do for that project. Maybe you have all your tools ready, your plans in hand and even some help lined up. But what you may not have thought of could be devastating. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in damage to gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries and costly repairs.

As construction and home project work reaches its peak in August, Columbia Gas of Ohio is asking communities to commit to safe digging and always call 811 before they dig. Ohioans can visit to take the 811 Pledge.

“Natural gas safety is a partnership and we want our customers to join us in keeping our communities safe,” Columbia Gas of Ohio president Dan Creekmur said.

The 811 Pledge encourages Ohioans to always call 811 at least two business days prior to taking on any digging project – whether that be to plant a tree, build a deck or install a fence. It’s the law. Utility companies will mark their lines so homeowners and contractors can dig safely.

Creekmur said, the greatest safety risk to natural gas lines is damage by a third party. This year alone, Columbia Gas of Ohio has responded to a report of a damaged line more than 750 times. These emergency situations are a risk to customers and communities and often require evacuations and road closures.

“Calling 811 before any digging project, keeps our employees and communities safe,” Creekmur said. “A call to 811 is free, easy and it’s the law.”

Call 811 at least a few days before you start any digging project. Whether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional, smart digging means calling 811 before each job.

To date, Executive Director of the Ohio Utilities Protection Services Roger Lipscomb; CEO of the American Red Cross, Ohio Buckeye Region, Kurt Anders; and many state legislators, mayors and municipalities have voiced support for the 811 Safe Digging Pledge.

Anyone needing more information about safe digging practices, can visit

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.