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News Releases

Peoples Gas

For Release: 04/24/2014

April is Safe Digging Month

Peoples Gas Focuses on Natural Gas Safety as Construction Season Begins

Chicago, IL – April is Safe Digging Month and Peoples Gas is focused on increasing awareness about safe digging practices and takes this opportunity to educate the public about the need for pipeline safety. The month of April, an unofficial springboard to the construction season, is generally the time of year when developers, builders, contractors and excavators begin rolling out their construction, infrastructure and public improvement projects and when residents begin their landscaping efforts. Peoples Gas has a comprehensive damage prevention program and works with a number of external partners to help reduce the number of times its pipelines are damaged. In 2013, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, the two utilities who deliver safe and reliable natural gas to nearly one million customers in the Chicago area, saw a more than 13% reduction in pipeline damage incidents from 2012. "It's a marked improvement and we want to see that number decrease even further," said Vipul Kapoor, manager, System Integrity for Peoples Gas. "Damaged pipelines create potentially dangerous situations, are costly and time consuming to fix."

Peoples Gas encourages contractors, excavators and residents to follow pipeline safety procedures and to be aware of natural gas pipelines buried underneath. Residents, who are beginning landscaping projects like uprooting trees or building a deck, should be especially aware that natural gas pipelines can be within striking distance even for shallow digging projects. Homeowners are urged to call DIGGER at 312-744-7000 or 811 at least 48 business hours before beginning any projects that require digging to have the buried utilities marked for free.

In March, as part of the company's ongoing commitment to safety, Peoples Gas was one of the sponsors for The Greater Chicago Damage Prevention Council's (GCDPC) 16th Annual Excavator's Breakfast. Representatives from Peoples Gas joined others who are involved in coordinating the design, permitting, locating and construction of underground projects in Chicago, including private and public companies and agencies, project managers and equipment operators in sharing information and learn more about essential natural gas pipeline safety precautions and procedures.

"Peoples Gas participation in the GCDPC has allowed us to develop partnerships with excavators and other utility owners in the City of Chicago to improve damage prevention measures in the city and ensure the safety of the individuals performing excavations and the general public," said John Just, general manager, Field Operations. "I urge all excavators that perform significant excavation work in the city to participate on the council."

In February, Peoples Gas announced a $300 million, 2014 Natural Gas Modernization Project that will expedite the prudent upgrading of Chicago's natural gas infrastructure. The program will eliminate and replace higher risk materials and increase the pressure of Chicago's gas distribution system to ensure safety and reliability and coincides with a national call to action from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to prioritize enhancements of the nation's aging natural gas pipelines.

Peoples Gas reminds contractors and customers that anyone planning work that involves digging in Chicago, whether a major excavation or a simple backyard project, is required to call DIGGER at 312-744-7000 or 811 at least 48 business hours before beginning any project that require digging to have the buried utilities marked for free.

For tips on how to stay safe around natural gas, visit peoplesgasdelivery.com and northshoregasdelivery.com.

For More Information, Contact:

  • Bonnie Johnson
    Manager, Public Relations
    (312) 240-4567
    (312) 907-7333 (CELL)