With August 11 quickly approaching, NIPSCO is acknowledging the 8/11 date as a natural reminder for anyone planning a digging project to contact 811 to have underground utility lines marked. Every few minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811.

A yard project can quickly turn into an emergency without advance planning and contacting 811. Underground lines are often “out of sight, out of mind” which can pose a risk to contractors and homeowners. The depth of utility lines can vary for several reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches or digging in a previously marked location, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

When contacting 811 at least two business days in advance of breaking ground, local utility companies mark the approximate location of any buried main lines and service lines. This minimizes the risk of personal injury and of disrupting utility service to the neighborhood. It’s easy to make a free request by calling 811 or going online to Indiana811.org.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages, and fines. Whether installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, or laying a patio, every digging project–no matter how large or small–warrants contacting 811. This year alone, NIPSCO has already experienced more than 140 damages to its gas lines due to people failing to contact 811. Unfortunately, this accounts for 30 percent of all gas line damages for 2023, with the number one cause of homeowner damages being due to fence installation.

Visit Indiana811.org. or NIPSCO.com/811 for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.

Digger Dog is Making His Debut

In conjunction with the 8/11 date this year, NIPSCO is adopting a smart, fun safety mascot named Digger Dog. Digger is ready to help everyone in the community learn why contacting 811 before digging is the smart thing to do.

Throughout the year, he will also share other safety messages including how to identify natural gas and how to report a possible natural gas leak. When people see Digger, they should know safety is the topic – no bones about it. Fittingly, 8/11 Day is Digger’s birthday, and NIPSCO will celebrate 8/11 Day with Digger and everyone in the community annually starting this year. In addition to Digger’s debut, NIPSCO will be hosting several events to celebrate and bring awareness to 8/11 Day: including partnering with Indiana 811 for fun family days at the Fort Wayne Tin Caps and the South Bend Cubs.

NIPSCO would like to remind anyone who thinks they may have damaged an underground pipeline or suspects a natural gas leak, even if they are not a NIPSCO customer, to leave the area immediately and call 911 and NIPSCO 1-800-464-7726. A natural gas leak can be detected by a distinct sulfur-like odor, similar to rotten eggs, even if it’s faint or momentary; an unusual hissing or roaring sound coming from the ground or appliance; or bubbling water and discolored plants or grass surrounding a pipeline.