Dig Safe is a not-for-profit clearinghouse that notifies participating utility companies of your plans to dig. In turn, these utilities (or their contract locating companies) respond to mark out the location of their underground facilities. Dig Safe is a free service, funded entirely by its member utility companies. (Note: Dig Safe does not mark utility lines.)
Many of the pipeline leaks and emergencies we respond to each year happen when homeowners and businesses dig on their property without knowing the location of underground utility lines. These types of accidents are called third-party damages, and they are easily avoided by calling 811 before you dig – anywhere on your property.
Maine Natural Gas is a member of M.U.S.T. which is an organization to promote underground facility safety through training efforts in cooperation with Dig Safe, underground facility owners, private locating companies, municipalities, excavators and regulatory agencies, and to continually evaluate the New England one-call laws and underground safety best practices.
Dig Safe and M.U.S.T. Training and Events
Calling 811 is FREE.
When you call 811, the utility lines on your property will be marked, preventing you from damaging them when you dig. Project examples that warrant a call to 811 include the installation of:
- Septic tanks and sewer lines
- Swimming pools
- Sprinkler systems and water lines
- Basketball goal posts or mailbox posts
- Fence and deck posts
- Trees and shrubs
It’s a risk to make faulty assumptions about when to notify Dig Safe. That’s why state law requires you to notify Dig Safe for even small projects, like installing a mailbox or planting shrubs. The depth of utility lines vary, and there may be multiple utility lines in a common area.
It’s important to know what’s below. Call 811 to avoid utility service disruption to an entire neighborhood, harm to you and those around you, as well as fines and repair costs.
Not all owners of underground facilities are required to be members of the Dig Safe system. Please refer to the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s “OK-TO-DIG” directory, provides contact information for the non-member, underground facility operators.
Pay attention in order to help identify potential signs of a natural gas leak. There are several ways to detect a natural gas leak.
Smell: Because an odorant called mercaptan is added to natural gas to help you detect its presence, the best sign of a natural gas leak is if you smell something similar to rotten eggs.
Sight: Look for dirt blowing into the air, persistent bubbling in standing water, or discolored or dead vegetation around the pipeline area.
Sound: Listen for any unusual hissing sounds.
- Exit the building immediately.
- Do not use matches, lighters, electrical switches, appliances or your cell telephone.
- Call Maine Natural Gas from a nearby building by dialing 1-877-LEAK ODOR (1-877-532-5636 ).
- Do not re-enter the building, until Maine Natural Gas has declared it safe to do so.
- We will investigate leaks as a free service, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Natural Gas Safety and Energy Efficiency
Meter safety during winter:
Homeowners and property owners should be alert to heavy buildup of snow or ice on rooftops. Falling ice and snow can damage natural gas meter and/or pressure regulator. Remember that clearing snow and ice from meters or vents needs to be done carefully and gently to avoid damaging the equipment. Do not pile snow against your natural gas meter and/or pressure regulator set when shoveling, plowing or using a snow blower. Our meter readers always appreciate it when you keep your meter free of snow and ice and maintain a clear path to the meter. This allows for safe, easy access for our gas technicians and emergency responders.
Keep Appliance Vents Clear
Drifting snow may block appliance intake and exhaust vents. If a vent is obstructed, the appliance may malfunction or create a potentially hazardous condition, such as a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide. Keep vents clear of snow and ice. If you suspect carbon monoxide may be present, seek fresh air immediately and call Gas Control at 1-877-532-5636. Reminder to replace batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors at least twice each year and change the batteries in your smoke alarms also.
Operate all pieces of equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. On a natural gas appliance, the color of the flame is a good indicator of incomplete combustion. The flame should always burn blue, not orange or yellow. If the flame is not blue, it may be a sign that the appliance needs adjusting or cleaning. Never use stoves, ovens or outdoor grills as a source of heat.
Nearly one-half of your energy budget is spent on heating and cooling so consider the following:
- For safety, comfort and energy efficiency, schedule an appointment to have a qualified, licensed natural gas contractor perform a thorough inspection of your heating system, including the furnace, water heater, all pilot and burner chambers, venting systems and thermostats. Remember that heating contractors get busier as the weather gets cooler, so call us today to get a list of natural gas certified contractors.
- Replace your air/furnace filter every month during the heating season to maintain the safe and efficient operation of your heating equipment.
- Use the Low or Warm settings on your water heater – never turning it above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will improve efficiency and prevent scalding accidents. If you have an automatic dishwasher and the manufacturer recommends a normal temperature setting for your water heater, ask your plumber about anti-scald devices for shower and sink taps.