Recent Triangle gas leaks should remind homeowners to call 811 before digging

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A gas leak on Wade Avenue and Saint Mary’s Street in Raleigh last week shut down a major road for the first part of rush hour.

This was the fifth leak in four days for Wake County and in Durham, more than three months have passed since a natural gas leak caused an explosion that killed two people.

Forty-two percent of homeowners who plan to dig in their yards this year will not call 811, that’s according to a recent study by a group called Common Ground Alliance.

Persida Montanez with Dominion Energy says not calling to check is a big mistake, and it’s also illegal.

“If you have a project in your yard from installing a mailbox, to planting a tree, building a deck, call 811,” Montanez said. “The utilities pay for it. They will send a professional locator to your yard and they will mark those lines, don’t take a chance. It’s a free service.”

CBS 17 went out with a Dominion Energy crew on Monday. They say it’s normal to do 50 locator jobs in one day.

“It’s just a web of underground utility lines that make our lives possible, our internet, our water — so thousands and thousands of miles of underground infrastructure,” said Montanez.

Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 three days in advance. Last week in Wake County there were five gas leaks in four days. Montanez says damage to utility infrastructure typically increases during the summer because there’s more construction.

“When you damage a natural gas line or other infrastructure utility line, for example, there’s a possibility there’s going to be a safety issue, traffic disruptions, service interruptions, so do the safe thing, so the right thing,” Montanez said.

Dominion offers free training for contractors at their Cary training facility. There is also a free online program from NC 811 that helps contractors learn more about safe digging practices. 

The fire investigation report for the Durham explosion is expected to be completed Monday, but it will not be released until it’s been reviewed by staff. Officials said that could take up to another week.

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