MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An increase in digging projects due to warmer weather has led to more underground natural gas line damage.

According to Kris Tande, supervisor of CenterPoint Energy’s damage prevention department, the number of gas line damages has increased by 50 percent since 2011.

“To date, we have had an increase of more than 50 percent in damages from excavators working on construction projects as well as homeowners who have dug into a natural gas line in their own yards,” said Tande.

With the number of annual utility line strikes in the US, the “Call Before You Dig” campaign was created to make homeowners aware of the dangers of reckless digging.

“Each year, more than 150,000 underground utility lines are struck in the United States and approximately one third of the damages occurred from failure to call 811 prior to excavation,” said Tande.

CenterPoint Energy reminds people to be remember the acronym C.A.R.E. before they dig:

Call 811 before you dig.

Allow at least 48 business hours for the utility lines to be marked.

Respect the marks. Hand dig within 24 inches of the marks.

Excavate carefully. The depth of utility lines varies, and there may be several utility lines in a common area.

There has been a 58 percent reduction in excavation damages since the “Call Before You Dig” campaign was launched in 2004.

Homeowners and professional excavators in Minnesota can make their requests on the Gopher State One Call website.


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