August 11 (8/11) is 811 Day: Texas Railroad Commissioners Remind Texans to Always Call 811 Before Digging to Help Prevent Pipeline Accidents & Damage
AUSTIN –– With August 11 (or 8/11) fast approaching, the Texas Railroad Commissioners announce 811 Day by reminding Texans that state law requires excavators and the public to call 811 to have underground pipelines located and marked before beginning any digging project.
The call to 811 is free and must be made at least two business days before digging. When calling 811, homeowners, excavators and contractors are connected to one of the two state One-Call Centers operating in Texas. Underground facility operators are notified, including pipelines. Then locator personnel are sent to a digging site to mark the locations of underground pipelines and utilities with flags, spray paint or both.
“On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners that every digging project, no matter how large or small, requires a call to 811,” said Railroad Commission Chairman Barry T. Smitherman. “There is a risk of hitting an underground utility line even when digging only a few inches deep. Calling 811 gives pipeline operators notice of your intent to dig and reduces the possibility of damaging an underground facility.”
Railroad Commissioner David Porter said, “Failure to call before digging is one of the leading causes of pipeline accidents. The vast majority of these incidents are minor and do not cause injuries, but we want to keep families and neighborhoods safe. Whether you are planting a tree or building an extension to your home, the first step is always to call 811 before digging.”
Railroad Commissioner Buddy Garcia said, “Texas has more pipelines than any other state, and the depth of pipelines can vary due to a number of factors including erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Calling 811 helps decrease the risk of striking an underground pipeline. Everyone needs to be aware of the infrastructure underneath us that supports our energy needs.”
Digging into even a small pipeline or utility line can cause injury, disrupt neighborhood services, and result in monetary penalties and repair costs. Not calling before digging or incorrectly marked pipelines can result in fines of up to $10,000 per day per violation. Additionally, the Commission may assess an enhanced violation of up to $25,000.
About the Railroad Commission
Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including more than 90 years regulating the oil and gas industry. Additionally, the Commission promotes research and education on the use of alternative fuels and has jurisdiction over gas utility, surface mining and pipeline industries. Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov/.