Planning an outdoor project? Call 811 before you dig

May 08, 2017

Warmer temperatures are on the horizon and for many that means it is time to plant flowers and begin other home beautification projects.  While this outdoor work is welcomed, it can also pose a danger to excavators and homeowners who fail to call 811 before digging to have underground utility lines marked. 

Nationally, an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. Locally, Columbia Gas of Kentucky crews – in addition to fire and police resources – respond to hundreds of damaged natural gas lines each year.

Striking a single utility line can cause personal injury, property damage, repair costs, fines and loss of utility service. Professional excavators and do-it-yourselfers are responsible for having all underground utility lines marked, regardless of whether they are planting a sapling or a full-grown tree. This is a free service for callers. And it’s not just a good idea; it’s the law.

Those violating any provision of the Underground Facility Damage Protection Act are subject to fines of up to $1,250 if they damage a natural gas pipeline. Those penalties are in addition to repairs and civil damages for personal injury or property damage.

“The bottom line is there is no reason to risk injuring yourself or others and damaging property when there is a free service like Kentucky 811 available,” said Columbia Gas of Kentucky President Herbert A. Miller, Jr.

Anyone planning to dig should call 811 or submit an online request at at least two business days, but not more than 10 business days, prior to beginning work.  Once the request is made, member utility companies of Kentucky 811 in the area of the excavation are notified, and each utility marks its lines.

Although most utility companies, including Columbia Gas of Kentucky, are members of Kentucky 811, some are not.  Those companies that are not members must be contacted directly for line markings.  Kentucky 811 operators can provide callers with a list of utility companies in their area that are members of their organization and a list is provided on the organization’s web site at

For more information about utility line marking or to make a locate request, contact Kentucky811 at 811 or visit