811 - Call Before You Dig

Know what’s below. Call before you dig – it’s the law.

Oregon and Washington laws require homeowners, businesses, and contractors to notify utilities at least two business days before digging commences. So, if you plan to dig simply call 8-1-1. A specialist will come out and mark the utility lines at no charge.

Keep in mind that utility installation is not the same for all utilities and requirements have changed through the years. Always proceed with caution when digging within two feet of the marked area.

Why "call before you dig?"

The most common cause of a natural gas pipeline rupture is someone digging into the pipe, whether it be a contractor or a homeowner digging in the backyard. If you plan to dig, call your One Call Center:

In Oregon call: 800-332-2344

In Washington call: 800-424-5555

Or simply call 8-1-1

NW Natural and other underground utilities respond to locate requests (someone inquiring where underground lines are located) by marking the location of mains and service lines. This helps ensure that digging in the area will be conducted safely. NW Natural also takes further steps to assure the safe operation of its natural gas distribution system:

  • Pipelines are designed, constructed, and tested under rigid specifications established by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • A high safety margin is designed into the pipe to allow it to withstand any stress that might occur because of ground movement.
  • The company installs flexible polyethylene plastic and high-strength steel pipelines; all pipe materials must meet high quality standards.
  • After many years of experience, these pipe installations have proven to be resilient and resistant to land movement associated with earthquakes, landslides, and other natural disasters.
  • NW Natural personnel frequently patrol the company’s mains and service lines to ensure continued safe and reliable operation.

More information

For information about excavation laws and enforcement actions, or other related Call Before You Dig issues, visit the following web sites:

Oregon Utility Notification Center

Washington Utilities Coordinating Council