Call Before You Dig Public Awareness Safety Message

The smallest outdoor tasks such as putting up a fence, planting trees, or building a deck can become costly and dangerous if utility lines are damaged in the process. Even if you don't have natural gas service, there may be a natural gas pipeline on or near your property. To avoid any unforeseen problems, make sure you know what's below and call before you start digging.

Natural gas is an extremely safe form of energy and is transported to industrial, commercial, and residential customers by buried pipelines. Natural gas pipelines are built and operated in accordance with state and federal safety codes. Pipelines are a reliable and safe method to transport natural gas.

Homeowners and excavators are required by law to call before digging. Always call 811 before you dig. It is a free call and there is no cost to the homeowner to have underground utilities located. You are required to call at least 48 hours in advance of digging in Ohio and Indiana, and 72 hours in advance in Pennsylvania. The 811 number is good everywhere. The utility companies will mark the underground facilities with paint and flags. You are required to hand dig test holes carefully to determine the exact location and depth of the buried utility. Damage to natural gas lines may cause leakage resulting in a fire or an explosion.

Contact your gas provider, the fire department, or 911 if you suspect or discover a gas leak. If the leak is inside your home, you should leave the residence and make a telephone call from outside the home or from a neighbor’s telephone. Do not try to stop or repair the leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark, such as light switches, electric doorbells, or telephones. Do not smoke. Never try to extinguish a gas fire.

Natural gas has a chemical additive that gives it a familiar “rotten egg” odor; however, smelling natural gas is not the only method of detecting a gas leak. A gas leak may be indicated by observing dirt blowing on the ground, bubbling in a water puddle, or an unusual area of dead vegetation. You may also hear a hissing sound.

The gas company works with emergency responders and state and local agencies to prevent and prepare for emergencies. We maintain up-to-date operations and maintenance procedures that are made available to local and state authorities. Gas companies are required to perform pressure tests on pipelines before they are put in service. Federal codes require periodic leak surveys to locate leaks so they may be repaired before they become hazardous.

If you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) in your home, call 911, open windows, and, if necessary, leave your residence. The presence of CO is an indication of a malfunctioning gas, propane, or wood-burning appliance. It is not caused by a gas leak.

For additional natural gas safety information, visit

For a list of pipeline operators in your area, go to 

Customer Gas Service 1-888-863-0032

Natural Gas Emergency 1-888-784-6160