National 8-1-1 'Call Before You Dig' Number Protects Infrastructure

Identifying Underground Lines before Digging Helps Avoid Service Disruptions

Jan 07, 2010, 13:35 ET from Common Ground Alliance

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Every day municipal workers, homeowners and professional excavators across the country dig and unknowingly face the risk of hitting an underground line, which can cause immediate injury to all those nearby, harm the environment and potentially knock out power, gas or other services to an entire neighborhood. A recent study conducted by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) revealed that people who fail to call before digging cause approximately 40 percent of all utility damages. This is the number one cause for these potentially dangerous and costly incidents. In fact, Americans unintentionally damage underground utilities approximately once every minute, according to the CGA National Utility Damage Assessment.

Established in 2000, the CGA is the nation's leading organization focused on saving lives and protecting underground infrastructure in North America. CGA and its 1,400 members from every facet of the underground utility industry promote effective damage prevention practices. To improve the safety of the people who dig near underground infrastructure, CGA created a single, easy-to-use phone number: 8-1-1 "Call Before You Dig" to connect callers with representatives from the companies that own and operate buried lines near digging sites, discuss projects and mark line locations. This simple 8-1-1 system eliminates confusion, ultimately protecting homeowners and professional excavators from putting communities at risk by unintentionally hitting underground infrastructure.

"I commend the efforts of the Common Ground Alliance and its sponsor organizations to provide ways citizens can protect themselves and their communities," said Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation. "Dialing 8-1-1 before conducting underground work will not only prevent emergencies, but can keep energy pipelines and other vital utilities Americans depend on operating efficiently."

CGA relies on partner organizations like Shell to help educate the community on how easy it is to call 8-1-1. Shell works continuously to educate those who live and work along pipelines, terminals, refineries, chemical plants, and production facilities as well as local public officials, emergency responders, schools, excavators and other organizations by giving presentations, taking out ads and mailing brochures with information on 8-1-1 "Call Before You Dig." In addition, Shell participates in numerous organizations including trade associations, safety groups, excavator meetings and damage prevention summits to spread the safety message and provide giveaways with the 8-1-1 logo.

"Shell is working with CGA to raise visibility for the nationwide 8-1-1 'Call Before You Dig' program, a service that is critical to safe operations and protecting America's underground infrastructure," said Mary Mujica, president, Shell Pipeline Company LP. "By placing the 8-1-1 logo on the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil car in the top motorsports series in the country, we helped to educate more than 75 million people about the importance of calling before you dig."

To facilitate the education process, there are tools and resources available to download on the 8-1-1 Web site, This collection of materials includes planning and resource documents, brochures, bumper stickers, door hangers, letterhead, magnets, ads and banners.

"Thanks to the strong sponsorship support we have received since the launch of 8-1-1, we have realized our goals and seen a decrease in the number incidents involving underground line damage," said Bob Kipp, president of CGA. "We look to partners, local officials, community leaders, professional excavators and industry to help educate the public on the importance of calling 8-1-1. Please help us continue to protect our communities from injury, environmental hazards, loss of service and unnecessary expenses. Call 8-1-1 before you dig."

For more information, please visit:, or

CGA is a member-driven association of nearly 1,400 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at

Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies, employing approximately 102,000 people and operating in more than 100 countries and territories. In the United States, Shell has operations in 50 states and employs more than 22,000 people. Shell is one of America's leading oil and natural gas producers, natural gas marketers, gasoline marketers and petrochemical manufacturers. Shell is a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology.

    Allison Wilson       Edelman on behalf of Shell         +1 (323) 202-1462
    Khrysanne Kerr       Common Ground Alliance             +1 (330) 792-9942

SOURCE Common Ground Alliance