PSE&G is launching an awareness campaign on Aug. 11 to remind customers to call 811 before starting an improvement project that requires digging. The utility recommends that no matter how small the project is, hitting an underground gas, electric, water or cable line can be catastrophic to personal safety and the continuity of service along with potential repair costs.
PSE&G requires a call at least three and no more than 10 business days before digging work is set to begin.
811 is the designated national dialing code to have underground lines located and marked before work begins near a home or business. Markouts made after dialing 811 are valid for 45 days.
Projects as tiny as planting a flower bed, installing a mailbox or fence, or putting in an above-ground pool all require an 811 call in advance.
“Keeping our communities safe through this easy to comply with, and free, service is key to ensure everyone’s safety. We need help spreading the word about ‘Call 811’ because hundreds of people and contractors continue to dig each year without checking first,” said Chelsey Gaworecki, process analyst, for PSE&G Gas Distribution & Field Construction. “Last year, PSE&G responded to 835 calls concerning excavating damages (719 gas, 116 electric). Many of the damages, which can cause utility service interruptions and traffic conditions while repairs are made, are completely avoidable. A call to 811 is the safe, smart thing to do and it is the law.”
To cover all of your bases, make sure that an 811 call has been made before work begins by excavators, contractors or even personal work. Property owners are required to maintain and respect the marks by digging within the 2-foot Tolerance Zone outlined by the marked lines.
It is also important to know what color marks represent which utility. Blue represents any water and slurry systems. Orange represents traffic communication, telecommunications, fiber optic cable, cable television and emergency communication.
Red represents electric power distribution and traffic control power. Green represents sewer lines while yellow represents gas distribution, petroleum products and oil distribution, steam and hazardous substances. White represented the planned execution boundaries for the project.
PSE&G recommends that in the event that you smell gas, leave the building as quickly as possible and move 350 away from the structure. They recommend calling 911 as soon as you get a safe distance away from the suspected source.
For more information on safe digging practices and 811, click here.