PHMSA Awards One-Call Grants to 30 States

The agency wants the 811 "call before you dig" number to be as well known nationally as 911.

DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is awarding more than $1 million in One Call grants to 30 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to support 811, the national "Call Before You Dig Hotline" that informs the public about safe digging and is intended to prevent unintentional damage to underground utilities and pipelines.

"Pipeline safety is a top priority at DOT, and almost every serious pipeline accident can be prevented with a call to 811," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "These grants will help spread the word about calling 811 before digging, a crucial message to protect our infrastructure, our communities, and the environment."

When calling 811, callers are connected to the appropriate one-call center in their state. Within 48 hours, local utility companies will visit the property to mark the location of any underground line, pipe, and cables before digging begins.

PHMSA reports the system is working: Between 2008 and 2012, excavation damage to natural gas distribution pipelines decreased by 50 percent compared to the five years prior, and damage to all pipeline types from excavation decreased by 41 percent during the same period. "Our goal is to make 811 as well known as 911, and thanks to the efforts of one call centers throughout the nation, and with the help of the public safety community, the word is getting out," said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman. "These grants will further promote the important message of 'know what's below and always call 811 before you dig.' Stay safe."

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