Spring is here! With the ground ready for planting, you might be gearing up to start an outdoor project that involves digging. Before you reach for that shovel, remember to call 811 before you dig.

April is National Safe Digging Month, a designation to remind us that our land has a complex underground infrastructure of pipelines, wires and cables. Striking an underground utility line while digging can cause harm to you or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially result in fines and repair costs.

That’s why it’s important to call 811 or submit a request via our NW Natural Safety App at least two business days before digging, regardless of depth or familiarity with the property. It’s free, and it’s the law.

Most importantly, no damage is too minor to report — even a small dent or scratch could weaken a pipeline. If while digging, you accidentally hit a gas line, report it immediately by calling 911 or NW Natural’s 24-hour emergency line at 800-882-3377. Also, always remember: Smell. Go. Let us know. If you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately, then call us at 800-882-3377, and we will come over to check things out.

We hope you have a beautiful and safe spring. For more tips, visit nwnatural.com

Cindi Fostveit, NW Natural

Newport community affairs manager

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