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SDG&E - 811 "DigAlert"


Last updated 8/12/2016 at 8:02am

SDG&E are sounding the alarm to remind customers to phone the 811 "DigAlert" number two days prior to carrying out any ground works.

According to official records, SDG&E shows incidents of damage to natural gas pipes have risen 75 percent since 2012.

"It's not just big contractors," said Hanan Eisenman, communications manager for SDG&E. "We're also seeing moms and pops working on backyard projects who don't think they have to call and [they] hit service lines."

In 2015, 350 cases of damage to natural gas pipes were logged as contractors built swimming pools, apartments or laid foundations, Eisenman said. In 2012, there were 200 such incidents. In 2013, it was 260.

"Everyone who does digging around the neighborhood should call 8-1-1," he said. "It's very important.

When 8-1-1 is called, SDG&E crews find and mark the underground utilities on private property.

In a better-safe-than-sorry philosophy, SDG&E workers also want to encourage people to report suspicious natural gas smells whenever they are encountered.

DigAlert is marking its 40th year - going back to 1976 when Underground Service Alert began operating in California - with separate call-before-you dig numbers in various jurisdictions.

In 2005, the Federal Communications Commission designated 8-1-1 for the 71 regional services that coordinate location services for underground public utilities.

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