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Call Before You Dig

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Call 811 Before You Dig

Call 811 Before You Dig

Virginia Natural Gas Safe Digging Campaign 2022: 'No Diggity' Remix By Chauncey Black of Blackstreet

No Diggity is back! Revisit our remix to the 90s hit and remember to call 811 before you dig.

Dig up the musical nostalgia of Blackstreet’s ’90s chart-topping R&B jam “No Diggity,” which has been remixed to promote safe digging awareness.

Virginia Natural Gas partnered with Grammy® award-winning singer, songwriter Chauncey Black of Blackstreet to launch the “No Diggity” Safe Digging Campaign to emphasize the importance of calling 811 before starting any outdoor digging project. The witty remix of the hit song was recorded by Black himself.

“When I heard about this campaign and its message, I instantly wanted to get behind it. The message builds awareness of the dangers around unsafe digging where utility lines may be involved and is something that must be heard. And what better way to deliver an important message than with a song,” Black said. “Safe digging saves lives. No diggity, no doubt.”

Virginia Natural Gas is using the fresh take on “No Diggity” to remind homeowners and professional contractors across the country to always call 811 before starting any outdoor digging project.

The Common Ground Alliance, a national nonprofit organization working to protect underground utility lines, says damage to covered pipe and cable happens once every few minutes because of digging near unmarked utility lines. To help prevent damage, calling 811 is required before digging, including minor do-it-yourself home improvement projects like planting a tree or installing a fence or deck, as well as breaking ground on a major new building development. 

“Nothing is more important to us than ensuring the safe delivery of natural gas to our 4.3 million customers. But we can’t do it alone,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company Gas. “We are so thrilled that Chauncey of Blackstreet is partnering with us in this important effort. By leveraging such a creative remix to their song, we aim to educate more people about the importance of calling 811 before beginning any digging project.”

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

A homeowner using a shovel and a professional excavator using an earthmover are required by state law to call 811 at least three business days before starting any digging project. Calling 811 before digging on any property is the law.

Virginia Natural Gas encourages homeowners and contractors to follow these safe digging guidelines and always dig with CARE:

Call Before You Dig: Before starting any outdoor digging project, customers should dial 811 at least three days in advance to request to have underground utility lines marked. Requests to have utility operators locate underground lines, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free.

Allow the Required Time for Marking: After contacting 811, wait for underground utility lines to be marked before digging. Locators will mark the approximate location of buried lines with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes corresponding 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 near location markers.

Excavate Carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to contact 811 to have lines remarked.

Planning a home improvement project, planting a tree or installing a fence or deck?

With any digging on your property, here’s what you need to know first: Excavation work, including digging or plowing around a home or business, is the most common cause of natural gas emergencies. Before digging around your property, state law requires you call 811, a nationwide, toll-free number, to have your utility lines professionally marked. After calling, you must wait the required amount of time before digging. Your local utilities, like Virginia Natural Gas, will locate and mark, free of charge, and each with a different color paint or flag, where their underground utility lines are within the area where you want to dig.

Once that happens, you can dig with confidence, because you’ll know how to avoid any damage to these underground utility lines, which might interrupt or hinder your services and potentially damage your property.

Additional Links

Check out these links for additional information about safe digging:

Call 811 Before You Dig

Easy as 1-2-3

Knowing where to dig is as easy as:

  1. Call 811 to schedule your appointment.
  2. Professional locators will survey the site, then identify and mark underground lines for free.
  3. Break ground!

How 811 Works

  1. It takes less than two minutes. Call 811 at least three working days before you plan to dig. Provide your address, project type and approximate dig date. A dispatcher will determine whether or not you need to have your property checked for lines, and if so, schedule a marking window. Utility company representatives will be notified that your project site needs to be marked for safe digging.

  2. Within three working days, utility locator companies will arrive to spray or flag your yard, allowing you to avoid problem areas where lines are present. Markers will use a wand that detects line locations without any alteration to your property. You're not even required to be present while your project site is marked. If you end up getting busy and are unable to complete your digging before your marks fade, simply call 811 again and request a re-mark.

After the utilities are marked

Once the lines are marked, use the appropriate digging methods and hand dig within 24 inches of the marked utility lines. This will help prevent any damage to underground utility lines. Make sure the marks remain visible during the entire project. If the marks are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to call 811 to have lines re-marked. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Show Your Support

Ready to be an advocate for calling 811 and encourage your peers to do the same? Download our 811 Toolkit to share on your social media accounts! 

Businessowners, future customers and the general public want to know that you’re a responsible member of the community where you operate. Show them you respect the law and follow proper protocol by calling 811 before digging.

Click here to download the toolkit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who should call 811?
A: Everyone, including homeowners and excavators, planning to dig or alter the surface of the ground needs to call 811. So whether you’re a DIY pro planning a weekend project or a professional excavator, one phone call to 811 will get your underground utility lines marked and keep you and your neighbors safe.

Q: How far in advance do I need to call?
A: After you call, wait 48 hours, beginning 7:00 a.m. the next working day (working days exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and legal state and national holidays) following notice, to allow the utilities to mark the lines.

Q: My yard is marked, now what?
A:  Protect and preserve the markings from the time the excavation begins until markings are no longer required for proper and safe excavation near the utility lines. Excavate carefully! Virginia law requires hand digging within 24 inches of a marked utility line.

Q:  How long are the marks good for?
A:  Utility line locations markings placed in response to a non-emergency marking request are valid for 15 working days beginning at 7:00 a.m. the next working day after you call.

Q: What do I do if my project takes longer than expected to complete?
If your project will take longer than 15 working days to complete, call 811 at least three working days before the expiration date and request a remarking.

Q: Can you just tell me what utilities are in my area even if I am not digging?
No- Please call 811 only if you intend to dig. 

Q: There are markings and flags in my yard. What do they mean?
  If you have markings you didn’t request, work may be taking place on or around your property. Click here to learn more.

Q:  Do the colors of the paint and flags indicate anything in particular?
Yes. Each color represents a different type of utility line that runs underground. For example, one color indicates a natural gas pipeline while another color represents the location of telecommunications or sewer lines.