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Contestants show off their skills during Locate Rodeo

Locate Rodeo contestant.

It typically starts to happen this time of year: On your nightly walk through the neighborhood you notice different color flags dotting the landscape and spray paint crisscrossing your neighbors’ lawns. 

The flags and paint are showing people or crews who plan on digging in the area the locations of underground gas lines, phone lines, sewer lines and other utilities. Those flags and paint marks don’t just magically appear, they are carefully placed by utility locators who are sent to the scene when someone clicks or calls 811. 

Our Office of Pipeline Safety recently hosted a Locate Rodeo so those utility locators could put their skills to the test. They had 12 minutes to locate two underground gas lines. The friendly competition demonstrated the safety, skills and education it takes to do the job well.     

Congrats to the winners: 

  • First place: Josh Richard, Q3
  • Second place: Adam Enberg, Xcel Energy 
  • Third place: Jose Martin, Xcel Energy 

April is Safe Digging Month: Call Before You Dig

April is Safe Digging Month in Minnesota. As winter-weary homeowners get ready to enjoy the warm weather and tackle their spring yard projects, The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) reminds Minnesotans to call before they dig. 

The best way to avoid an emergency or unintentionally striking an underground facility is to call 811 before you dig.      


MNOPS Alert Notice 01-2018

​This Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) Alert Notice informs pipeline operators to review their operations and maintenance procedures, processes, recordkeeping, and operator qualifications training to ensure compliance with the following applicable codes:

  • 49 CFR §192.703 – Maintenance: General
  • 49 CFR §192.727 – Abandonment or deactivation of facilities.
  • 49 CFR §192.747 – Valve maintenance: Distribution systems.