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Call before digging

SPRINGVILLE — Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner, so National Fuel has reminded residents to call 811, the toll-free national “Call Before You Dig” phone number, or visit, prior to planning any excavation projects, this year.

New York state law requires residents to call the free service, prior to beginning digging projects, to prevent accidental damage to underground utility lines.

The national number connects callers with local call centers. Operators record the excavation locations and notify National Fuel of the callers’ plans. National Fuel then dispatches professional locators, to mark the approximate locations of its lines, for free.

Homeowners and contractors are required to call 811 at least two, but no more than 10 business days, in advance of the start of their projects, to allow time for requests to be processed. This does not include the date of the call. Once the project is underway, and in observance of the markings, diggers are required to stop using heavy equipment and hand-dig, within 2 feet of either side of the markings.

The Call Before You Dig initiative is sponsored by the Common Ground Alliance, the association created to work with all industry stakeholders, in a stated effort to prevent damage to underground utility infrastructure and ensure public safety and environmental protection.

The CGA and its stakeholders are dedicated to increasing awareness of safe digging practices, across the country. The CGA, which was formed in 2000, represents a continuation of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Common Ground Study, a review that highlighted the need for one organization to continuously update best practices among the growing underground utility industry.

“All excavation projects require a call – even small or shallow digging projects, like planting trees and shrubs, or installing a fence or mailbox,” said Emily Ciraolo, spokesperson for National Fuel. “If you damage an underground utility line, while digging, you run the risk of harming yourself or those around you, disrupting service to an entire neighborhood and potentially being held responsible for fines and repair costs.”

National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation is the utility segment of National Fuel Gas Company, a diversified energy company that is engaged in a number of natural gas-related activities. The utility provides natural gas service to approximately 730,000 customers in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania.

To learn more about natural gas safety, visit

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