NW Natural Reminds Customers and Contractors to Call 811 Before You Dig

A safety reminder for April’s National Safe Digging Month

Media contact: media@nwnatural.com; 503-818-9845 (pager)


April 9, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore.  In recognition of April’s National Safe Digging Month, NW Natural wants to remind residents, contractors and landscapers to call 811 before you dig.

If you’re planning a spring planting or an outdoor project that involves digging, please call 811 at least two business days ahead to have underground utility lines located. It’s free, and it’s the law. It can also prevent service interruption, thousands of dollars in damages and the risk of injuries.

“Whether you’re a homeowner building a fence, a real estate agent posting a for-sale sign, or a contractor doing excavation, you must call 811 or use the free NW Natural safety app to have utility lines located,” said Jaimie Lemke, NW Natural’s damage prevention supervisor.

The most common cause nationwide of a natural gas pipeline damage is when someone accidentally digs into the pipe. Accidentally hitting an underground utility line can interrupt service to entire neighborhoods and lead to serious injuries, fines and costly repairs. Here are some planning guidelines:

  • Regardless of digging depth or familiarity with the property, make your request at least two business days before you plan to dig.
  • Call 811 or use the free NW Natural Safety App.
  • When you call 811, the Oregon Utility Notification Center notifies local utility companies of the intent to dig. Then a professional locator visits the site to mark the location of underground utility lines. The OUNC says the contractors who come out to mark buried lines will follow COVID-19 safety precautions.
  • Confirm with 811 that all lines have been marked.
  • Consider moving your project location if it’s near utility line markings.
  • If working with a contractor, confirm a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if lines aren’t marked.

If while digging, you accidentally hit a gas line, report it immediately by calling 911 or NW Natural’s 24-hour emergency line at 800-882-3377. No damage is too small to report, even a small dent could weaken a natural gas line.

Always remember: Smell. Go. Let us know. If you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately, then call us at 800-882-3377 and we will come over to check things out. During COVID-19, NW Natural’s crews are following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state health guidelines regarding face coverings, social distancing, and sanitizing protocols.

For more information, visit nwnatural.com/safety/call-before-you-dig.

About NW Natural

NW Natural provides natural gas service to approximately 2.5 million people in more than 140 communities through 770,000 meters in Oregon and Southwest Washington with one of the most modern pipeline systems in the nation. It consistently leads the industry with high J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction scores. NW Natural is part of Northwest Natural Holding Company, (NYSE: NWN) (NW Natural Holdings), which is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and owns NW Natural, NW Natural Water Company, and other business interests and activities.