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Southwest Gas Urges Public to ‘Call 811 Before You Dig’ for April Safe Digging Month

VICTORVILLE, CA. – National Safe Digging Month, observed annually in April when spring has sprung and peak digging season begins, is the perfect time to remind the public about the importance of calling 811 before beginning any digging project. 

Calling 811 and getting lines marked before you dig is free and can prevent avoidable damages to underground utility lines that can be dangerous for you and our communities.  

National data continually shows that the number one cause of damage to underground utility lines is failure to call 811 to have the lines marked before digging. In 2023, close to 30 percent of Southwest Gas’ companywide damages were due to homeowners and contractors not calling 811 before excavation.

Locally, last year in California:

  • More than a quarter of damages involving all underground natural gas infrastructure were the result of not calling 811 before starting a dig project.
  • 70 percent of infrastructure damage caused by homeowners on their property was the result of not calling 811 first.

Whether planting a tree, setting up a new irrigation system, installing a mailbox, or starting a large construction project, everyone needs to be aware of what’s underground before they dig – many utility lines are buried just a few inches below the ground. +

One easy phone call to 811 or an online request at call811.com quickly begins the process of getting underground utility lines marked. “Call 811”line marking service is free for residential and commercial digging jobs of all sizes and for all types of projects, and is the law. Ensuring you make the call two working days before beginning any digging project is critical to preventing accidents or causing service outages in your area and helps sustain our communities with uninterrupted, reliable gas service. 

“Southwest Gas is committed to the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas service to our customers and the communities we serve,” said Laura Nelson, Vice President of Sustainability and External Affairs. “The Company’s damage prevention and public awareness programs are just a few of the many tools employed to maintain a safe system and ensure the highest standards of quality and integrity while supporting the Company’s safety and sustainability commitments for people and the planet.”   

Southwest Gas reminds anyone who thinks they may have damaged an underground natural gas line or suspects a natural gas leak, even if they’re not a natural gas customer, to leave the area immediately and call 911 and Southwest Gas at 877-860-6020.

A natural gas leak can be detected by a distinct sulfur-like odor, similar to rotten eggs, even if it is faint or momentary; an unusual hissing or roaring sound coming from the ground or appliance; or blowing dirt, bubbling water, or discolored plants or grass surrounding natural gas infrastructure or pipeline markers.   

For more information about 811 and natural gas safety visit www.swgas.com/safety. For more information on safe digging practices visit www.swgas.com/dig-safe.

Southwest Gas Urges Public to ‘Call 811 Before You Dig’ for April Safe Digging Month

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