Railroad Commissioners Remind Public to Call 811 Before You Dig

AUSTIN August 12, 2015 – Texas Railroad Commissioners are using 8-11 (Aug. 11) to remind Texans state law requires anyone who plans an excavation project must call 811 before digging. Calling 811 begins the process of identifying underground pipelines and getting them marked to prevent pipeline accidents that could include injuries, service disruption, potential fines, and repair costs. The Railroad Commission is the regulatory authority with jurisdiction over pipeline damage prevention of intrastate natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines in Texas.

The call to 811 is free and must be made at least two business days before digging. Homeowners, excavators and contractors who call 811 are connected to One-Call centers, which then notify pipeline operators, who dispatch personnel to mark underground pipelines with flags, spray paint or both.

Commission Chairman David Porter said, “The Commission’s highest priority is protection of the public and our natural resources. Our staff works with 23 damage prevention councils statewide to educate the public about the importance of calling 811 before digging. Call 811 so you don’t have to call 911.”

Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “As required by law, all Texans must call 811 before digging or beginning any excavation project. Calling 811 takes just a few minutes of your time and is an important way to prevent an accident, protecting yourself, your family or your business.”

Commissioner Ryan Sitton said, “In Texas, failing to call 811 before digging or incorrectly marking a pipeline can result in fines of up to $200,000 per day per violation. If a pipeline is damaged during digging, Railroad Commission rules require the responsible party to call 811 and also submit a Texas Damage Reporting Form to our agency within 10 days of the incident.”

To learn more about the importance of calling 811 to have underground pipelines marked before digging, please see the program “Guarding Unseen Texas: The 811 System" airing on PBS affiliates statewide this month and available for viewing here.

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