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Virginia Natural Gas reminds community to “Call Before You Dig” during Safe Digging Month

VIRGINIA BEACH, VirginiaApril 1, 2023 — Warmer temperatures have finally arrived and before customers spring into outdoor home projects, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) is reminding communities to “Call Before You Dig” in observance of Safe Digging Month this April.

Virginia Natural Gas encourages customers to contact VA811 either by phone (8-1-1) or online to have underground utility lines marked before any digging or excavation project. This includes fence installation, paving projects, or installing a pool. It also applies to professional excavators when performing any work such as tunneling, grading, boring or blasting. Contacting Virginia 811 is also recommended for smaller, manual jobs such as planting trees or installing mailboxes.

“Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, inconvenient service disruptions, and costly repairs,” said Rus Hayslett, vice president of Operations for Virginia Natural Gas. “Making a free request to 811, online or over the phone, before digging will help homeowners maintain essential utility service for themselves and reduce the likelihood of accidentally digging into buried utility lines.”

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 protect these underground utilities and help ensure communities stay safe and connected, Virginia Natural Gas offers the following safe digging guidelines:

  • Contact 811 Before You Dig: Before starting an outdoor digging project, dial 8-1-1 or visit to request having underground utility lines marked at least three days prior to digging.  This service is free and required by law.
  • Allow the Required Time for Marking: After contacting 811, allow time for the underground utility lines to be marked before digging. The approximate location of the lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. The natural gas markings will be yellow.
  • Respect the Marks: Only use hand digging tools in areas near the utility line markings.
  • Excavate Carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the markings are no longer visible, 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 and then  the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 1-877-572-3342 from a safe location.

VNG’s Safe Digging Arcade  is another way for families to learn more about the importance of safe digging.  Have your child complete all eight activities to become a Safe Digging champion! The arcade uses science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) to educate children about how their families can stay safe and avoid damaging a utility line when digging around their homes.

For more information about natural gas safety, visit

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 Energy (Virginia 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 five 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 a Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit and connect with the company on FacebookTwitter,  Instagram, LinkedIn and Nextdoor.

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 with approximately 600,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines 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 | www.virginianaturalgas/pressroom