For Release: 03/12/2010
Rosemount, MN - The arrival of warmer temperatures signals the start of construction season in Minnesota. And that means digging. As projects involving excavation of streets, parkways, gardens and lawns begin, Minnesota Energy urges contractors, workers and residents to follow proper pipeline safety procedures, as well as understand what to do if they hit a natural gas line.
Anyone planning work that involves excavation in Minnesota must call the DIGGER hotline at 811 or 800-252-1166 or online at www.gopherstateonecall.org at least 48 hours before planning to dig. "It is vital for not only contractors who work on underground infrastructure, but residents digging around their property to closely follow all guidelines for working safely around natural gas pipelines," said Ann Carlon, spokesperson for Minnesota Energy Resources.
To create awareness among contractors about pipeline safety, representatives from Minnesota Energy attend the Annual Excavator meetings which are held around the state - visit the Gopher State One Call website for a list of all meetings. As one of several sponsors of the event, the utility distributes information to attendees, including contractors and other relevant third parties throughout Minnesota. To reduce accidents, the companies regularly provide a variety of pipeline safety awareness materials to customers and others who may live near pipelines. The safety awareness program includes bill inserts, brochures, web site activities, and classroom programs, among other materials. Just as importantly, throughout the year the utilities work closely with Gopher State One Call to help prevent damage to pipelines during construction.
"We are always looking for opportunities to create greater public awareness of safety and the vital role that our pipelines play in delivering energy to our customers every day," Carlon said. "Each time a gas main is hit, not only do we respond, but so does the local Fire and Police Departments." For more information or to find all of the utility's pipeline safety materials, visit www.minnesotaenergyresources.com.