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Contractor Natural Gas Safety
When you are working around natural gas it is important to know what to do in case you hit a pipe, but in order to avoid that we ask you to always call 811 two days before you dig.

Call 811 before you dig

Call 811 or go to Call Before You Dig at least two business days before you dig. This will allow time for someone to locate and mark any buried wires, cables or pipes for you. Make sure to wait for the site to be marked before starting your digging project and respect the marks.

The color of the paint, stake or other marker indicates what's below:

Yellow with company ID for gas in Oregon

Here's what else you need to know

  • Don't move or alter the marks until the facilities are exposed.
  • The location marks are good for the following time:

    • WA - 45 days
    • ID - 21 days
    • OR - Life of the project
    After that, call your 800 number, dial 811 or go to Call Before You Dig again for new location marks.
  • There will be a 2-foot (24-inch) tolerance on either side of the markings. You must hand dig to expose and determine the exact location of the underground facilities before you proceed with mechanical excavation. We may be able to provide you with depths, but they're not guaranteed.
  • Exposed gas pipelines need to be properly supported and protected from damage so they don't break or rupture. You can use secure nylon straps, wood shoring, rope or other means that don't harm the pipes.
  • You'll need to use acceptable backfill material and proper compaction to avoid damage to the pipes. Since sharp rocks or gravel can hurt the pipes, you should use sand or rock-free dirt.
  • If you find gas or electric lines that haven't been marked, stop excavating and call your 800 number, go to Call Before You Dig or dial 811 immediately.
  • If you have any questions, you can also call us at (800) 227-9187.

Don't fix it if you hit a line or have a leak

If you encounter a damaged natural gas line, don't try to fix it yourself or restrict the gas flow in any way. You could be injured or the gas could ignite. Even if gas isn't leaking, we need to inspect the line. Keep others away from the area and call us at (800) 227-9187 as soon as possible.

Natural gas transmission pipelines

Avista's transmission pipelines are indicated by the use of pipeline markers which have a 24-hour emergency response number. These markers give the general route of the pipeline.

We may be able to relocate our equipment to accommodate your project, but you could be responsible for the associated costs. Call us at (800) 227-9187 to learn more.

In case of a gas leak

Because natural gas is lighter than air, it becomes combustible when mixed with air and exposed to an ignition source. That's why we add an odorant that smells like rotten eggs so you'll know right away if there's a problem.

In case of a leak, here's what you should know. Besides the smell, the signs of a natural gas leak may include:

  • Blowing or hissing sounds.
  • Dust blowing from a hole in the ground.
  • Continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas.
  • Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area.

Anytime you smell or hear a gas leak, take these precautions:

  • Don't smoke, light matches, turn your electrical switches on or off, use the telephone or do anything else that might create a spark.
  • Evacuate everyone in the area, and keep others away.
  • Call Avista Utilities and stay on the phone with us until we have all the information to send help.

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