Man in garden digging

Warmer temperatures and the arrival of spring typically signal the beginning of outdoor projects – everything from installing a mailbox or planting a tree to building a deck or putting in a new fence. With April marking the 12th annual National Safe Digging Month, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania reminds homeowners and contractors that before they pick up a shovel, they need to pick up the telephone and call 811.

The national “Call Before You Dig” number, 811, connects homeowners and contractors with the Pennsylvania One Call System. This organization provides the opportunity for utility companies to mark buried pipes and cables before digging commences, protecting not only the utility lines, but homeowners and contractors as well. Every nine minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

“Calling 811 before digging allows us to mark our gas lines and prevent a potentially dangerous situation. As a homeowner or contractor, it keeps you and your neighbors safe and prevents potential costly repairs,” said Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Vice President and General Manager Mike Davidson. “We want everyone to complete spring outdoor projects safely and efficiently, so we urge you to call 811 if you plan to dig.”

Pennsylvania law requires that a homeowner or contractor call 811 at least three business days prior to beginning excavation. In addition, the person conducting the excavation is charged with the responsibility of making the call to 811, even if the planned excavation will be shallow. The call is free for homeowners.

The 811 “Call Before You Dig” hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. 

For more information on digging safely in Pennsylvania, visit

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