Questar asks Utahns to call 811
An underground pipeline or utility line is damaged by a digging project once every three minutes in the United States. Questar, an integrated natural gas company headquartered in Salt Lake City, encourages Utah residents to take a moment during the month of April, National Safe Digging Month, to remember always to dial 811 when planning a digging project, whether it is a large commercial or industrial project or simply installing a mailbox.
"We'd like 8-1-1 to be as familiar to everyone as 9-1-1," said Ron Jibson, Questar chairman, president and CEO. "Thousands of Utahns live or work near underground pipelines or other critical buried utilities. We can all do our part in making sure everyone is safe by calling before we dig."
The toll-free 811 number works in all states. Utah's 811 call center, Blue Stakes of Utah -- helps callers by notifying underground utility owners of planned excavation activities.
If necessary, the utilities will send at no cost a professional to mark the location of all buried utilities on the caller's property including gas lines, power lines, communication cables, and water and sewer lines.
Each year, according to INGAA (Interstate Natural Gas Association of America), failure to call 811 results in more than 250,000 unintentional hits of underground utilities across the United States. Striking a pipeline or utility line can cause an injury or even a fatality, and result in repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. A simple call to 811 can help avoid all this.
A recent incident involving a Utah landowner demonstrates the potential danger of failing to call 811 before an excavation project.
The landowner was installing irrigation pipe near a Questar Pipeline right-of-way in a field on his property when he accidentally struck a high-pressure pipeline with his trackhoe. Had the landowner called 811 before digging, a professional would have marked the location of the pipeline so the landowner could avoid it.
Because the trackhoe dented rather than punctured the steel pipeline, the landowner narrowly escaped causing a major disruption in natural gas service to nearby communities, not to mention potential personal injury or even fatality. Still, damage to the pipe was so severe Questar Pipeline had to replace a 23-foot section with new pipe. The repair costs were extensive. In addition, Utah's Blue Stakes law provides for significant civil penalties for failing to call 811 before starting an excavation project, no matter how small.
According to Gary Hansen, president of Blue Stakes of Utah, "Calling 811 two working days prior to excavating is extremely important to protect gas pipelines and other buried utilities. Utah's damage prevention law applies on private and public properties. Call 811 before you dig to have buried utilities located, respect the marks, hand dig within 24 inches of the utility and always dig safely."
Visit www.call811.com this April, or any other day, to learn more about 811 and safe digging practices.