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Virginia Natural Gas recognizes National 811 Day and safe digging practices

Celebrate National 811 Day with the Norfolk Tides at Harbor Park Aug. 11 at 4 p.m.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Aug. 5, 2019 – Whether you are a professional excavator or weekend warrior, one of the first things you should do before starting any outside digging project is to make a simple call to save you from big headaches.

Dialing 8-1-1 to mark your underground utilities – before you dig – could keep you and your family out of harms way, prevent damage to underground facilities, and save on potentially costly fines and service interruptions. And, it’s the law.

VNG promotes safe-digging practices year-round, and to celebrate National 811 Day, Virginia Natural Gas has teamed up with VA811, Virginia Utility Protection Services and the Norfolk Tides to help spread the message that “Calling 8-1-1 before you dig is always a safe play.”

“This is a great opportunity for customers to come out and enjoy a day at the park and learn about the importance of calling 8-1-1 before starting any project that involves digging,” said Rick DelaHaya, VNG spokesperson. “Virginia Natural Gas wants homeowners, contractors, employees and members of our community to be safe and understand the impacts before starting a project that requires putting a shovel in the dirt.”

Every year on August 11, utility companies across the country and the state, one-call centers, and damage prevention advocates use National 811 Day as an opportunity to remind homeowners and professional contractors that Virginia state law requires a call to 811 before starting any outdoor digging projects.

The most common reason natural gas lines are hit is because the homeowner or contractor did not have underground utilities properly located and marked before they performed underground construction activities.

Making a toll-free call to 811 in advance of digging projects, such as planting a garden, building a deck or putting in a swimming pool, can help prevent injuries, property damages and inconvenient utility outages when underground utility lines are damaged. 

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Virginia 811. Virginia 811 notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.

Virginia Natural Gas encourages homeowners and contractors to follow the below safe digging guidelines and always dig with C.A.R.E.:

  • Call or Click Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor digging project, customers are advised to dial 811 or visit to request to have underground utility lines marked at least three days in advance. Requests to have utility operators mark underground lines, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24-hours a day, seven days a week and is free. 
  • Allow the Required Time for Marking: After contacting Virginia 811, wait the required time to have underground utility lines marked before digging. The approximate location of underground utility lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. The color used for natural gas is yellow. 
  • Respect the Marks: Only use hand digging tools to carefully uncover the area around a utility line when you need to dig close by. 
  • Excavate Carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to contact Virginia 811 to have lines remarked.

If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally or the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas is present, call 911 or the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or create an open flame.

Learn more about natural gas safety at 


About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides natural gas service to nearly 300,000 customers in southeast Virginia. Virginia Natural Gas has been recognized as one of the safest, most reliable and customer-focused natural gas service providers and is consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates. In 2018, Virginia Natural Gas was named Local Distribution Company of the Year by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for the third consecutive year. For more information, visit and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About 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 and 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

Media Contact:
Rick DelaHaya
o: 757.616.7510 | c: 757.323.7366 |