News Releases

North Shore Gas

For Release: 04/24/2014

April is Safe Digging Month

North Shore Gas Focuses on Natural Gas Safety as Construction Season Begins

Waukegan, IL – April is Safe Digging Month and North Shore 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.

North Shore 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, North Shore Gas and Peoples Gas, the two utilities who deliver safe and reliable natural gas to nearly one million customers in the Chicagoland 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. "Damaged pipelines create potentially dangerous situations, are costly and time consuming to fix."

North Shore 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. Anyone planning work which involves digging must call the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators (JULIE) hotline at 811 or (800) 892-0123 at least 48 hours before planning to dig.

JULIE is a not-for-profit corporation that provides contractors, excavators, homeowners, and others who may be disturbing the earth, with a free service through a single toll-free phone number, 811, to call for the locating and marking of underground utility facilities. JULIE 811 alerts utility members in the area of your intent to dig and marks the buried utilities for free.

North Shore Gas recently joined a host of companies, agencies, project managers and equipment operators in supporting The Greater Chicago Damage Prevention Council's (GCDPC) 16th Annual Excavator's Breakfast. Attendees of the annual meeting work together to provide information aimed at reducing damages through public awareness and safe digging practices. The utility works closely with JULIE and GCDPC throughout the year to help prevent damage to pipelines during construction.

"North Shore Gas' participation in the GCDPC has allowed us to develop partnerships with excavators and other utility owners to improve damage prevention measures and ensure the safety of the individuals performing excavations and the general public," said Mark Kinzle, general manager, North Shore Gas.

North Shore Gas also provides Workforce Awareness Training to any utilities, municipality, or contractor that wants to know more about safe working conditions around natural gas facilities. The training is held on the second Tuesday of every month. Contact System Integrity Engineer, Joseph Handschiegel, at (773) 395-4230 to reserve a spot in the training or for more information.

For tips on how to stay safe around natural gas, visit

For More Information, Contact:

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