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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Jen Longaecker  651-201-7570
May 30, 2013
Call 811 Before You Dig So You Don’t Have To Call 911 Later
Striking an Underground Utility Like a Natural Gas Line Can Lead to Serious Injury
ST. PAUL — Springtime projects like building a deck, planting a tree or replacing your mailbox can be dangerous if you don’t know what’s below before you start digging. Underground utilities like natural gas lines can run inches from the surface and be ruptured with a shovel or other household tools.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) reminds you to call 811 before you dig. Minnesota law requires anyone excavating to notify Gopher State One Call (GSOC) at least two days before beginning a project so utility companies can mark the approximate location of potentially hazardous underground facilities.
Digging without knowing the location of underground utilities increases the likelihood of unintentional damage, which can cause serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs. Call 811 first so you don’t have to call 911 later. Or go online to and request underground utilities near the area you’re digging be marked.  
The GSOC Center received 653,483 excavation notices last year, more than 160,000 of them in May and June. The number of excavation requests increases every year, but there were still 198 GSOC violations in 2012. Excavation-related damages in Minnesota have decreased by more than 70 percent since 1996.    
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About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety
The mission of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of pipeline safety is to protect lives, property, and the environment through implementation of a gas and hazardous liquid pipeline inspections program, enforcement, accident and incident investigations, and education.
Office of Pipeline Safety 2012 statistics:
  • The office investigated 290 pipeline related incidents
  • Staff wrote 122 enforcement actions that addressed 336 probable pipeline regulation violations
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