Call 811 before you dig. Whether you’re planting a garden, building a fence or remodeling your home, no project is too small to call 811. Damage from digging is a common cause of pipeline accidents. One easy, free call to 811 Underground Service Alert (USA) at least two working days before you dig gets your utility lines marked so you can dig safely. This free service will notify underground utility operators in the area of your planned work.
Safe digging tips:
Use hand digging tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of any underground lines.
Utilities will use colored utility flags, stakes or paint marks to mark underground lines. Leave these in place until you have finished digging.
If you or your contractor accidently digs into a gas pipeline, do not attempt to stop the flowing gas or extinguish any fire. Immediately notify PG&E if you dent, scrape or hit our pipeline while digging so that we can inspect and repair the line to prevent future damage.
Once you are done with your project, you can carefully backfill and compact the soil.
Locate natural gas pipelines near you
Use this interactive online map by National Pipeline Mapping System to learn more about the transmission pipelines in your neighborhood. You can view any location in our service area—your home, place of work or any other areas of interest—to see if transmission pipelines run nearby, which also shows the location of all transmission pipelines in the United States, viewable by county, zip code or street address.
Spot a natural gas leak
You can help detect gas leaks by being aware of these potential indicators:
Smell: A distinctive sulfur-like, “rotten egg” odor, which we add to natural gas as a safety precaution.
Sound: Hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground or from a gas appliance.
Sight: Dirt spraying into the air, continual bubbling in a pond or creek and dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.
If you suspect a gas leak, immediately move to a safe upwind location and warn others to stay away. Then call 911 to notify local police and fire and contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. Do not operate any device until you are a safe distance away, especially ones that might create a spark such as cell phones, matches, electric switches, doorbells, radios, televisions and garage door openers.
How your insurance would respond on unsafe digging claims:
Generally speaking, your insurance should cover personal injuries and property damage claims related to digging, unless specifically excluded. Besides, there is also CONTRACTORS ERRORS AND OMISSIONS coverage, that can be added to most of the policies, that can be triggered as a result of an digging accident, however, unless you were providing architectural, engineering or drafting services in connection with your operations in your capacity as a construction contractor, the E&O insurance will not apply to Architectural, Drafting or Engineering Services. Another words, if you are a general contractor with Auto Cad software and you draw the plan for the construction project and damaged an underground main line, you could end up paying for damages from your own pocket.
If you want to discuss this information with a licensed insurance agent call 800-339-0104.