Landscapers in Kamas break gas line
June 26, 2007
A crew of landscapers working Saturday in Kamas should not have breached a gas line in the Grassy Creek subdivision because markings showed the underground line was nearby, firefighters say.
"A resident was installing a fence," South Summit Fire Capt. Tory Llewelyn said.
Someone struck the natural-gas line with a shovel on June 23 at 8:20 a.m. leaving a hole in the metal line about a half-inch in diameter.
"It happens a lot more often than people want to admit," Llewelyn said, advising anyone preparing to dig around their yard to contact the Blue Stakes of Utah notification center by dialing 811 on the telephone. "It is vital."
Natural gas leaking into a neighborhood creates a possibly explosive fire hazard, but nobody was hurt on Saturday. Two fire trucks were at the scene on 360 North in Kamas.
Before planting a tree, building a sprinkler system, or digging holes for fence posts, Blue Stakes of Utah must be contacted to identify whether utility lines are buried nearby.
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"Any of those reasons would be (reasons to call,)" said Gary Hansen, executive director of Blue Stakes of Utah.
More than 30 percent of the damage caused to utility lines nationwide by diggers could have been avoided with an 811 call to Blue Stakes, he said.
"There is no depth requirement," Hansen said. "The law says if you’re digging on or below the ground you should call in."
Blue Stakes officials will visit your property and mark utility lines so digging can safely occur on each side, he said, explaining that the only times calls to Blue Stakes aren’t required is during gardening and tilling on private land.
"We’re not only concerned about the property damage, but we’re concerned with personal injury or even death that could occur," Hansen said. "Amongst the homeowners is really where we need to (raise awareness.)"
The service, which is funded by participating utility providers, is free to homeowners, he stressed.
The landscapers will likely be held liable for the costs to repair the gas line damaged Saturday, Llewelyn said.