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Black Hills Energy urges safe digging practices this spring

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Spring is here, but before residents dig out tools to complete their winter-hatched yard projects, Black Hills Energy reminds them to exercise safe digging practices and call before digging.

According to an April 2 press release, safety should always be a priority. Whether it’s a homeowner planting a tree or a contractor operating a backhoe, buried utility lines should never be out of mind even though they may be out of site. 

Hitting an underground utility line can cause widespread service outages or grave injuries to everyone within a wide area, per Black Hills Energy, which says failing to adhere to “Call Before You Dig” laws could have serious civil repercussions including penalties or expensive repair costs. 

If a natural gas line is accidentally damaged or you smell the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas, residents should leave the area immediately and call 911 and then Black Hills Energy at 888-890-5554, the release states. 

Before digging, Black Hills Energy recommends the following rules:

  • Call Wyoming 811 or submit an online request at least two full business days before you dig, which will notify all utilities in the area of your plans.
  • Pre-mark the dig site with white paint, stakes or flags. Marking the site will help utility locators understand the plan and reduce the chance of project delays which could happen if additional locates are requested.
  • Respect the marks, which means carefully hand digging with a shovel with a tolerance zone of 24 inches or greater depending on the pipe size rather than relying solely on heavy equipment.
  • Do not rely on old marks. If digging hasn’t started within 10 days of having utility lines marked, contact 811 again and have line locators remark the lines at no charge.