Aug. 11 offers numerical reminder to call 811 before digging

August 10, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 4 p.m. Aug. 10, 2011

Puget Sound Energy and the state Utilities and Transportation Commission plan to use Thursday — Aug. 11, or 8/11 — as a reminder to call 811 before digging.

Call the free hotline prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked for free. Scheduling the utility locator service helps keep people safe and prevents damage to underground utility lines before projects involving digging, excavating or planting.

Striking a single line can cause injuries, damages, fines and outages. The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous landscaping and uneven surfaces. The risk of striking an underground utility line exists anytime a digging project is started.

On average, digging leads to strikes on PSE’s underground natural gas or power utility lines about three times per day, primarily due to excavators and residents failing to call the 811 hotline to have the underground lines marked.

The state recorded almost 1,400 damage incidents last year due to individuals damaging gas pipelines.

PSE recommends some simple to people if a gas or electric line is hit, or if they smell natural gas:

  • Quickly move to a safe distance from the damaged line.
  • Call 911 after reaching a safe distance.
  • Report the damage to PSE at 1-888-225-5773.

Learn about “Call 811 Before You Dig” at, and find additional natural gas safety tips on Facebook, follow #Call811 on Twitter and share photos on Flickr.

Bellevue-based PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and almost 750,000 natural gas customers throughout Western Washington, including Issaquah.

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