Nicor Gas recognizes 811 Day and safe digging practices

  • Second annual 811 5k Run/Walk on Sunday, Aug. 11

    Second annual 811 5k Run/Walk on Sunday, Aug. 11 Courtesy of Nicor Gas

Updated 8/9/2019 9:53 PM

Nicor Gas promotes safe-digging practices year-round, and to celebrate 811 Day (recognized nationally on Aug. 11) is partnering with JULIE, Illinois' one-call center, to remind residents to call 811 or click before you dig. Whether a professional excavator or weekend warrior, state law requires a call to 811 before starting any outdoor digging project.

As part of the national day, Nicor Gas is hosting the second annual 811 5k Run/Walk on Sunday, Aug. 11.


The USATF-certified 5k race course will begin and end at 4901 Searle Parkway, Skokie. Registration for the event is only $8.11 and all proceeds will benefit the United Way of Metro Chicago.

Same day registration, check-in and packet pick-up will begin at 7 a.m. and the race will begin at 8:11 a.m. New this year, a kids fun run will be offered free of charge at the conclusion of the race.

"Safe digging is vital to the safety of our employees, public and the communities we serve, and to our commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable, affordable natural gas," said Emeka Igwilo, vice president of Operations Support at Southern Company Gas, the parent company of Nicor Gas. "I encourage all interested parties to join me and run or walk to support 811 Day and the United Way."

The nationwide toll-free number to have underground utilities marked is 811 and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dialing 811 in advance of digging projects, such as planting a garden, tree or shrub, building a deck or installing a mailbox or fence, could keep your family and community safe, prevent damage to underground utilities and save on potentially costly fines and service interruptions; and it's the law.

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After a click or call to 811, JULIE then notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are sent to the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground utilities with flags, paint or both -- the service is free.

Nicor Gas encourages homeowners and contractors to follow the below safe digging guidelines and always dig with CARE:

• Call or click before you dig -- When starting an outdoor digging project, customers are advised to dial 811 or visit to request to have underground utility lines marked at least two days in advance. Requests to have utility operators mark underground lines, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24-hours a day, seven days a week and is free.

• Allow the required time for marking: After contacting JULIE, Illinois' one-call center, wait the required time to have underground utility lines marked before digging. The approximate location of underground utility lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. The color used for natural gas is yellow.

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

• Excavate carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to contact JULIE to have lines remarked. If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally or the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas is present, call 911 or the Nicor Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at (877) 642-6748 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or create an open flame.

Learn more about natural gas safety at

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