As stay-at-home orders and restrictions lift, Great Plains Natural Gas reminds public to call before you dig


    As states continue to lift restrictions put into place to slow the spread of COVID-19, Great Plains Natural Gas reminds homeowners and contractors to always call 811 prior to starting any project that requires digging to keep communities safe.

    Using the free-of-charge essential public safety service by calling 811 or placing an online request before digging will help residents avoid accidentally damaging buried utility lines.

    Summer is typically a busy time for digging activity due to the warmer weather. Homeowners and professionals alike should remember to make safety a priority by calling 811 prior to starting work that requires digging. For homeowners, some common DIY projects that warrant calling 811 beforehand include installing a mailbox or planting a tree or shrub. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs if gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged.

    “As coronavirus-related restrictions continue to be lifted, homeowners and professionals may start resuming digging projects they had previously put on hold,” said Mike Schoepp, director operation services for Great Plains Natural Gas. “We want to remind everyone to put safety at the top of their to-do list as they dig into summer, which means always calling 811 prior to starting work that requires digging. Doing so prevents damage to critical infrastructure and serious injuries.”

    Great Plains Natural Gas encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project this summer:

    ▪ Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.

    ▪ Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.

    ▪ Confirm that all lines have been marked.

    ▪ Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.

    ▪ If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.

    ▪ Visit for complete info.

    Everyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one call notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

    Great Plains Natural Gas Co. distributes natural gas and provides related services in 18 western Minnesota communities and Wahpeton, North Dakota. It serves approximately 24,000 customers.

    Great Plains is a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc., a member of the S&P MidCap 400 index and the S&P High-Yield Dividend Aristocrats index and is Building a Strong America® by providing essential products and services through its regulated energy delivery and construction materials and services businesses.

    For more information about MDU Resources, see the company’s website at For more information about Great Plains, visit