The season of home improvements is upon us. National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. reminds homeowners and professional contractors to "Call Before You Dig."
Before starting any excavation projects this year, call 811, a toll-free national phone number, or visit www.call811.com. New York state law requires residents to call 811 - a free service - prior to digging in order to prevent accidental damage to underground utility lines.
The national 811 phone number connects callers with local one-call centers. Operators record the excavation locations and notify National Fuel of callers' plans. National Fuel then dispatches professional locators to mark the approximate locations of its lines for free.
New York homeowners and contractors should call 811 at least two full business days, but no more than 10, in advance of the start of their projects.
"All excavation projects - even small or shallow digging projects like planting trees and shrubs, or installing a fence or mailbox - require a call," said Emily Ciraolo, spokesperson for National Fuel. "Many of the pipeline leaks and emergencies we respond to each year occur when homeowners and businesses dig on their properties without knowing the location of underground utility lines. These types of accidents can be easily avoided by calling 811 before digging anywhere on your property."
The Common Ground Alliance, a national association representing the utility industry and committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure, states:
•Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged, because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
•When you make the call to 811, damage occurs less than 1 percent of the time.
•Striking a single line can result in injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages.
Along with "Call Before You Dig," National Fuel cautions that, if you smell gas, you should act fast and call 1-800-444-3130. Gas leaks can be serious, so if you notice a smell like rotten eggs or suspect a gas leak, leave the premises immediately and then contact the utility. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit www.nationalfuelgas.com/forhome/gassafety.aspx.
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. is the utility segment of National Fuel Gas Co., a diversified energy company that is engaged in a number of natural gas-related activities. The utility provides natural gas service to approximately 735,000 customers in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania.