Chattanooga, Tenn. (April 1, 2020) – Local utility providers Chattanooga Gas, EPB and Tennessee American Water are partnering to promote “Call Before You Dig” for National Safe Digging Month. The 13th annual National Safe Digging Month is an initiative that urges excavators and homeowners to call 811 before beginning a digging project to avoid the serious risks that could result from striking a utility line. In addition, the Tennessee American Water icon “Phillip D. Glass,” which sits atop the Company’s water tank on Amnicola Highway, is wearing an 811 shirt to support the effort.
Safe digging is a shared responsibility,” said Tennessee American Water Operations Manager Leah Morrison. “Even what may seem like a simple DIY project in your yard can lead to damage or extremely dangerous circumstances. The 811 service, which is funded by the nearly 600 member utilities, is free to homeowners.”
Each year the state’s underground utility infrastructure is jeopardized through unintended damage by those who fail to call 811 to have underground lines located prior to digging, resulting in undesired consequences such as service interruption, damage to the environment and personal injury. In the most current report available, 7,500 damages were reported in Tennessee in 2018.
In three working days or less, utility locators will visit a job site and mark the location of the utility lines within the area of work described on the locate request. There is no need for homeowners to interact with workers, making this an easy process that provides homeowners peace of mind, knowing they can comply with current social distancing guidelines while still completing their project safely.
Many of us may not be aware of just how many pipes and lines lie underground,” said EPB Field Services Manager Shane Wallin. “There can be fiber optic lines, sewer and water pipes or natural gas lines. Hitting any of these lines can cause damage. It may seem like an inconvenience to wait, but planning ahead can save lives.”
In 2019 Chattanoogans working on projects such as planting trees, shrubs or building patios or decks in communities near East Brainerd and Hixson caused the most damage to Chattanooga Gas service lines. Cleveland, Apison, Collegedale, Ooltewah and the Southside are all hot spots for higher damage rates, as well.
“This is an important joint effort to encourage all Chattanoogans to think about safety when planning projects in their yards,” said Wendall Dallas, vice president of Chattanooga Gas. “Calling 811 is a critical preventative measure to reduce the more than 200 infrastructure damage calls we respond to annually in Chattanooga alone.”
811 was designated by the FCC in 2005 as a simple number to reach the one call center to request utility line locations at an intended dig site.
“Through education of safe digging practices, excavators and homeowners can save time and money and help keep our nation safe and connected by making a simple call to 811 in advance of any digging project,” said Morrison. “Planning ahead and building in time for locates to be made is an important part of getting a job done right.”
After calling 811, the details of a homeowner's digging project are transmitted to the local utility companies who respond by locating and marking the location of their underground lines. Utility markings follow a standard color code that helps distinguish what each line represents and it's important to respect the markings and what they represent. Per state law (TCA § 65-31-108 (c)), homeowners and other excavators shall exercise reasonable care when digging within 2 feet on either side of each marked line. They should contact their local utilities directly if additional assistance is needed after the lines are marked.
Learn more at www.tn811.com.
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ABOUT TENNESSEE AMERICAN WATER
Tennessee American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water services to approximately 380,000 people in Tennessee and north Georgia. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit www.tennesseeamwater.com.
Chattanooga Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Chattanooga Gas provides retail natural gas sales and transportation services to approximately 67,000 customers in Hamilton and Bradley counties in southeast Tennessee. The Chattanooga Gas service area includes the communities of Chattanooga, Cleveland, Red Bank, East Ridge, Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain. For more information, please see chattanoogagas.com.
SOUTHERN COMPANY GAS
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.2 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 700,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.
EPB serves the greater Chattanooga area by providing world-class energy and connectivity solutions as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life for our community. We deliver electricity to more than 170,000 homes and businesses across our 600 square mile service area which includes most of Hamilton County as well as parts of surrounding counties in both Tennessee and Georgia. In 2010, EPB Fiber Optics, which offers internet, TV, and telephone services, became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 Mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network which is accessible to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first, and to date, only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 Mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer.
EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid.
EPB is an independent board of the City of Chattanooga which began serving customers in 1939. Visit EPB.com for more information.
ABOUT TENNESSEE 811
Tennessee811 is the statewide “Call Before You Dig” service connecting weekend warriors and professional excavators with underground utility operators in their project area. Established in 1983, the Nashville-based nonprofit organization is supported by nearly 600 member utility companies, with the goal of promoting safety by preventing damage to buried utilities.