Skip to main content.

Virginia Natural Gas reminds communities to dig safely as outdoor projects increase during Safe Digging Month

Virginia Beach, Va. – April 5, 2021 – To help keep springtime outdoor projects running smoothly and safely, Virginia Natural Gas is reminding the community during April, Safe Digging Month, that do-it-yourself homeowners and professional excavators alike are required by law to call 811 before digging on any property.

“We work around the clock to safely provide our customers with the comforts that natural gas provides, but we can’t do it alone,” said Rus Hayslett, vice president of operations at Virginia Natural Gas. “By identifying the location of the underground infrastructure in your area before starting a new project, you can do your part to protect our state.”

Even simple projects such as gardening and landscaping can be dangerous and disruptive when digging with utility cables and pipes underground. Virginia Natural Gas emphasizes the importance of contacting Virginia 811 to have underground infrastructure located before the start of any digging project. This includes fence installation, driveway or sidewalk paving, building a home addition or installing a pool. The requirement to contact Va811 also applies before clearing a sewer line, tunneling, grading, boring, blasting or similar work.

Virginia Natural Gas reminds communities to dig safely as outdoor projects increase during Safe Digging Month

Virginia Natural Gas has more than 5,500 miles of natural gas infrastructure across southeast Virginia. In addition to those lines, there are underground communications cables, water and sewer lines, and other utility lines on every property. Knowing where underground infrastructure is before putting a shovel in the dirt helps prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient service outages.

To help ensure communities stay safe and connected, Virginia Natural Gas offers homeowners and professional excavators the following safe digging guidelines:

  • Contact or Click Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor digging project, contact 811 or visit at least three days in advance to request that locating experts mark underground utility lines. Requests are free and 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 to have underground utility lines marked before starting to dig. 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 handheld 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.

For more information about natural gas safety, visit

The company also provides a fun, interactive way for parents and their children to learn about natural gas safety with its digital Safe Digging Arcade. The arcade uses science, engineering, technology and math (STEM), puzzles and games, to educate children about how their families can stay safe and avoid damaging a utility line when digging around their homes.


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 clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the year four times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its business customers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and as one of the Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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 4.3 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states and approximately 666,000 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 |