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Call 8-1-1 before you dig, you dig?

In recognition of Aug. 11, or 8/11, coinciding with the phone number people call to check for gas lines before digging, Northwest Natural Gas Company reminds residents to call 8-1-1 to have underground pipelines and other utilities located before taking shovels to dirt.

"Whether you're a homeowner planting in your own yard, a small contractor hired to put in a fence or a large contractor working on a major construction project, every project that involves digging warrants a call to 8-1-1," said Dawn Johnson, Northwest Natural Gas spokeswoman.

People are required by law to call the toll-free number at least two business days before digging, Johnson said. While there is no charge to have utility lines located, failing to call could result in penalties and fines if underground utilities are damaged, she added.

Third-party "dig-ins" are the most common cause of natural gas pipeline damage. So far this summer, Northwest Natural has responded to 221 such instances in its service territory. An average of 500 pipes are damaged a year from people digging.

Since the gas company began education efforts on this topic in 2006, representatives have met with more than 700 contractors, reducing damage by 60 percent.

If you or your contractor accidentally damages an underground gas pipeline, leave the area, then call 9-1-1 and Northwest Natural's 24-hour emergency number 1-800-882-3377.




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