Reminding customers to always call Tennessee811 hotline before digging
Some numbers you know by heart. “811” should be one of them. National 811 Day is August 11 (8/11) reminding the public to always call 811 before you or your contractor start any digging or construction projects to prevent damage to underground utilities such as gas, electric and water lines and to keep residents safe. National 811 Day is observed during the week of August 11 to increase awareness of Call 811 Before You Dig.
When residents call 811, their underground utility lines will be located and marked free of charge. Tennessee law requires that individuals give notice to the 811 call center three business days before any digging begins. This service is free, and all residents who intend to excavate or have contractors excavate are required to call by law.
Damage to utilities can occur during installation of a fence or mailbox, building a deck or additional room, and even gardening or planting trees. “It’s all about safety,” says MLGW President and CEO J.T. Young, “We want residents of Memphis and Shelby County to realize that underground utility lines can be disturbed or damaged by common home improvement projects. We promote National 811 Day to increase awareness of the importance of calling 811 before you dig, as well as increasing knowledge of natural gas safety.” Digging without calling can result in damage to underground utility lines, gas leaks, explosions, harm to residents, disruption of neighborhood service, and fines and repair costs for those responsible.
A national survey revealed that 42 percent of homeowners who plan to dig each year won’t call 811, putting their families, neighbors and their communities at risk.
If residents hit or damage a utility line in the process of excavation, they should immediately stop digging and call MLGW. Remember that natural gas smells like rotten eggs or sulfur. If residents smell this strong odor, they should evacuate the area right away and call MLGW’s emergency line (528-4465) and 911. MLGW reminds residents that the best way to avoid these dangerous situations is to always call 811 before you dig.National 811 Day is promoted by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an association dedicated to ensuring public safety, environmental protection and the integrity of services by promoting effective damage prevention practices. More information on Call 811 and natural gas safety can be found on MLGW’s website at mlgw.com or at commongroundalliance.com.
MLGW is the largest three-service public power utility in the nation, serving more than 440,000 customers in Memphis and Shelby County.