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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Gas line rupture an expensive and dangerous problem

  • Spring is here, which means it’s time to dust off the power tools and begin those outdoor projects.
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  • Spring is here, which means it’s time to dust off the power tools and begin those outdoor projects.
    Before digging in the yard, Liberty Utilities reminds Illinois residents to play it safe and call 811 to have all buried utility lines marked — for free. Unfortunately, it’s a law many homeowners ignore when planning projects that require a hole in the ground, such as installing a mailbox, putting up a fence or planting a tree, according to a release from the utility.
    According to data collected by the Common Ground Alliance, more than half of American homeowners will not make a free call to 811 before digging. The survey also shows that homeowners are aware of underground infrastructure; 67 percent recognize that paint and flags mark buried utilities, yet calling 811 remains a low priority.
    “Studies show that careless digging damages an underground utility line every three minutes in the United States,” said David Swain, president, Liberty Utilities Mid-States.
    Our county has seen its share of gas line damage.
    “In Saline County the frequency of a damaged line is every six weeks,” he said. “The potential for a fire is always there but shutting down the flow can be accomplished quickly if people know whom to call.
    “While hitting a natural gas pipeline is extremely dangerous, it’s also 100 percent preventable. I encourage anyone who is thinking about starting a digging or construction project to call 811 and visit libertyutilities.com to find out more about how to dig safely.”
Liberty Utilities has developed a number of guidelines to help residents and construction personnel prepare for digging on their properties while undertaking yard, construction and landscaping projects. The guidelines, available online at libertyutilities.com/central and by calling 811, include ways to avoid gas lines and what safety measures to take if there is ever the smell of gas. As National Safe Digging Month kicks off, Liberty Utilities is encouraging residents to follow the “C.A.R.E.” model to prevent potentially harmful pipeline incidents:
    C — Call 811 before you dig. Underground utilities exist everywhere. Residents are obligated by law to dial 811 toll-free to have all underground lines and utilities located at no cost before putting a shovel in the ground.
    A — Allow required state time for marking. Illinois law dictates that officials have to be notified two working days before digging begins. Coordinating well in advance protects property value, avoids costly repairs, and prevents unnecessary accidents and mishaps.
    R — Respect markings. Following calls, Liberty Utilities will locate and clearly mark underground pipelines to guide safe dig zones.
    E — Excavate carefully. Residents are asked to ensure all markings have been made in the planned excavation zone, then hand dig inside any of these tolerance zones. Any exposed pipelines should then be barricaded.
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