Nicor Gas and National Excavator Initiative get dirty with Mike Rowe to spread the word to contact 811 before digging

Nicor Gas is getting in the trenches alongside the National Excavator Initiative (NEI) and bringing along one of America's most trusted personalities, executive producer, Emmy-winning host, bestselling author, podcaster and skilled-trades advocate, Mike Rowe. Mike's animated alter ego, Micro Mike Rowe, joins to spread the word on the importance of contacting 811 before you dig.

Known for the hit TV series, "Dirty Jobs, Somebody's Gotta Do It" and his groundbreaking Facebook show, "Returning the Favor," Rowe and his animated sidekick highlight the critical importance of underground utility infrastructure. With some earthy humor, they share what can - and likely will - go wrong if homeowners and contractors don't contact 811 before digging.

Through the National Excavator Initiative, Rowe connects with industry experts who help educate the public and professional excavators about the 811 process. The campaign includes radio, print, online media and billboards.

"Nicor Gas is thrilled to work alongside the National Excavator Initiative featuring Mike Rowe and Micro Mike Rowe's voice to share our message on the importance of always calling 811 before digging," said Wendell Dallas, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. "The safety of the 2.2 million customers we serve across 650 communities across Northern Illinois is our top priority. This exciting collaboration is one of the many ways we are committed to providing educational information on the importance of safe digging throughout the year."

Contacting 811 at least three business days before starting any digging project is free and is required by state law. When homeowners and contractors contact 811, it notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.

Nicor Gas encourages homeowners and contractors to always dig with C.A.R.E:

• Call before you dig: Before starting any outdoor digging project, customers should call or click 811 at least three days in advance to request having underground utility lines marked. Requests to have utility operators locate underground lines, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week (excluding holidays). The service is free.

• Allow the required time for marking: After contacting 811, wait for underground utility lines to be marked before digging. Locators will mark the approximate location of buried lines with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes corresponding to the utility. The color used for natural gas lines is yellow.

• Respect the marks: Only use hand digging tools to carefully uncover the area around a utility line when you need to dig near location markers.

• Excavate carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to contact 811 to have lines redrawn.

For more information about Nicor Gas' commitment to safety, visit

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