Local Utilities Warn About The Dangers Lurking Below

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August 10, 2018
Arizona utilities stress the importance of calling before you dig

PHOENIX – August 11th is national 811 Day and Arizona Public Service, Southwest Gas and SRP want to warn customers of the dangers associated with digging into a utility line and encourage customers to know what’s below – call 811 before you dig. Across the state, many shared utility services that communities rely on run through corridors directly underneath them. These include: natural gas, electricity, communications, water and more. Too often, homeowners completing Do-It-Yourself projects in their yard do not realize that many of these utilities may be buried just a few inches below ground.

Unfortunately, too many people in the United States will dig this year without first having underground utility lines properly marked. Digging into these lines can cause serious injuries and make for costly repairs. It is estimated that every nine minutes an underground utility is damaged because someone didn’t call before digging. Underground power lines, while well insulated, can be easily damaged by a shovel or pick and create a shock or flash hazard. This can cause interruption of service to surrounding customers and, more importantly, poses an extreme safety risk to the person digging.

Southwest Gas reminds the public that a natural gas leak can be detected by a distinct sulfur-like odor, like rotten eggs, even if it’s faint or momentary. Unusual hissing or roaring coming from the ground or an above-ground pipeline, bubbling water and discolored plants or grass surrounding a pipeline, can also be signs of a leak.

Contact  Arizona 811 from anywhere in Arizona at least two full working days prior to digging. Arizona 811 will send the homeowner’s utility companies out to the site to locate and mark the underground lines, pipes and cables at, or near, a planned dig site. Customers can also make an 811 ticket request easily online using E-Stake.

Do you know what the utility markings on the ground mean? In the United States, uniform color codes for temporary marking of underground utilities are:
  • RED – electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables
  • ORANGE – telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
  • YELLOW – natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum or other gaseous or flammable material
  • GREEN – sewers and drain lines
  • BLUE – drinking water, irrigation and slurry lines
  • PURPLE – reclaimed water
  • PINK – temporary survey markings, unknown/unidentified facilities
  • WHITE – proposed excavation limits or routes
Media Contacts: Annie DeGraw – APS
Amy Washburn - SW Gas
Kathleen Mascareñas – SRP
(602) 250-4370
(602) 395-4090
(602) 236-2500