It’s gardening season, but before digging, be safe

NAPERVILLE—Spring has arrived, but before starting any outdoor projects that require digging, Nicor Gas urges their customers to call JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) number 811. Illinois law requires anyone digging, regardless of the depth of the project, to call JULIE.

811 is the new FCC-designated national N-11 number created to eliminate confusion of multiple “call before you dig” numbers across the country. Callers can still also reach JULIE at the traditional toll-free number 1-800-892-0123; however, the new 811 free service number offers increased speed and convenience.

“Nicor Gas is committed to the safety and reliability of our customers’ natural gas service. To help ensure these goals, we encourage customers who are planning any outdoor projects that involve digging to be safe and call JULIE before they dig. A simple number and quick call to 811 can avoid serious injury or property damage, not to mention the inconvenience of an outage,” said Rocco D’Alessandro, executive vice president of Operations.

Whether planting a new tree, installing a mailbox, building a fence or preparing a garden, Nicor Gas urges anyone doing the work to call JULIE before digging. Calling protects homeowners and contractors from the potential danger and legal responsibility of damaging underground gas pipes or other utilities.

JULIE serves as a message handling service for underground utilities, taking information about planned digging projects and distributing the information to the proper utility company. It is then the responsibility of each utility (natural gas, electric, water, sewer, communication) to mark the location of their underground pipes and wires at the excavation site. JULIE neither owns nor marks any underground utilities.

Homeowners and contractors are required by law to call JULIE in advance of any dig project. The call is free, and operators are available to receive and process calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If customers are unsure about whether to dig, Nicor Gas recommends they call in all cases—just to be sure.

Projects requiring a call to JULIE include, but are not limited to:

Planting a tree, shrubs or flowers

Installing a fence, swing set or mail box post

Adding a pool, pond or fountain

Building a deck or room addition

Guidelines to follow before starting any digging project:

Call JULIE (811) at least two working days before you dig. The 48-hour notice does not include Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

Begin the project within 14 calendar days from the call.

Respect the marks and dig with care.

If the marks are destroyed or removed before beginning any project, then JULIE must be called again.

Never dig without marks.

Remember, the call to JULIE must be made by the homeowner or contractor—it’s the law.

If in doubt about any digging project, call JULIE (811).

from the May 16-22, 2007, issue

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