Today is National Safe Digging Day

This is a press release from Pacific Gas and Electric Company:

EUREKA/UKIAH, Calif. – Today, August 11, is National Safe Digging Day, the easiest day of the year to remember the free one-call service. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is urging customers and contractors to call 811 to have all underground utility lines marked two business days ahead of digging projects.

The 811 one-call service is free and it’s illegal in California not to call 811 before most digging projects.

“The safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve is our absolute highest priority and that includes safe digging. Guessing or assuming the location of an underground gas line is dangerous, and the consequences of hitting the unmarked line are often severe and can even be fatal. No digging project is too small. Whether you’re a contractor building a high-rise building or a homeowner installing a fence, calling 811 can prevent damages and injury and even save a life,” said Jesus Soto, PG&E Senior Vice President for Gas Operations.

A call to 811 is the best safeguard and the first line of defense to preventing strikes on underground utility lines. Most commonly, these strikes or “dig ins” occur with a shovel or heavy construction equipment. Callers are connected to their local 811 center that notifies the appropriate utility of their intent to dig. That utility operator sends a specially trained and qualified technician to the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint.

While there have been 21 strikes on gas lines so far this year in the North Coast, no cities in Humboldt or Mendocino Counties made the top ten list with the most strikes in PG&E’s service territory.

Top 10 PG&E Cities with the Most Dig-Ins in 2017:


1.   Sacramento – 105

2.   San Francisco – 90

3.   Oakland – 81

4.   Fresno – 61

5.   San Jose – 60

6.   Bakersfield – 59

7.   Modesto – 56

8.   Berkeley – 36

9.   Stockton – 36

10. Mill Valley – 27

PG&E Safe Digging Tips:

  • Mark project area in white: Identify the digging location by drawing a box around the area using white paint, white stakes, white flags, white chalk or even white baking flour.

  • Call 811 or submit an online request two working days before digging: Be prepared to provide the address and general location of the project, project start date and type of digging activity. PG&E and other utilities will identify underground facilities in the area for free.

  • Dig safely: Use hand tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of underground lines. Leave utility flags, stakes or paint marks in place until the project is finished. Backfill and compact the soil.

  • Be aware of signs of a natural gas leak: Smell for a “rotten egg” odor, listen for hissing, whistling or roaring sounds and look for dirt spraying into the air, bubbling in a pond or creek and dead/dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.

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