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NWE Contact Bar, in Montana dial 1-888-467-2669, in South Dakota or Nebraska dial 1-800-245-6977
 
small brandlCall 811 Before You Dig

 

Use FOR WEB_sized down Before you or anyone else does any digging around your property, take time to find and have marked the location of all underground service lines.  

What You Need To Do

  • Call 811 at least two working days before you dig! Or go online and request a utility locate.
  • Be ready with all important information.
    -  Municipality, county, city 
    -  Street address or nearest intersection of streets and roads, or township, range, section and quarter
    -  Type of work
    -  Extent of work
    -  Your name
    -  Date and time excavation is scheduled to begin
    -  Contractor or contact person and address
    -  Phone number and call back times
  • Wait for the site to be marked. Markings are made with paint, flags or stakes.
  • If you've hired a contractor, don't let them do any work until the site is marked.

Utility Color Codes
Color-coded surface marks are used to indicate the location and route of buried lines.

redmarking Electric
yellowmarking Gas/Oil/Petroleum
orangemarking Communication/Cable TV
bluemarking Water
greenmarking Sewer
whitemarking Proposed Excavation

It's the Law
According to the laws of the states in which NorthWestern operates, anyone who excavates, trenches, plows, drills, augers, blasts, strips topsoil or levels land is required to give notice at least two working days before any excavation work is started.

Excavators who damage underground facilities without first calling to request and obtain locates must pay the full cost of repairs. In the case of personal injury or loss of life, as the excavator, you may be subject to a civil suit. When electrical, natural gas, and other service lines are ruptured or damaged, the responsible excavator is charged for the repair.

Responsibility of Home/Property Owner or Current Occupant
The maintenance of buried gas piping downstream of the gas meter to gas fired appliances or other various structures on the property is the responsibility of the home/property owner or current occupant. NorthWestern Energy is required to inform customers with privately-owned natural gas or propane service lines of their responsibility to inspect and maintain their piping (Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR 192.16). Customers should have the pipes periodically inspected for leaks and metallic pipes should also be inspected for corrosion by qualified professionals. Any unsafe conditions should be repaired immediately or the flow of gas should be shut off. Piping that is not maintained may be subject corrosion or leaking. When digging near buried gas pipes, the pipes should be located in advance and the excavation done by hand.

El mantenimiento de pipas de gas enteradas desde el medidor de gas a los aparatos que funcionan con gas u otras estructuras diferentes en la propiedad es la responsabilidad del dueño de la propiedad / casa o inquilino actual. Se le requiere a NorthWestern Energy informar a sus clientes con líneas de gas natural de propiedad privada o servicio de gas propano sobre su responsabilidad de tener inspecciones y mantener sus pipas de gas al (Código de las regulaciones federales 49 CFR 192.16). Los clientes deben tener inspecciones de las pipas
de gas periódicamente para verificar que no haya fugas y se deben también inspeccionar por profesionales calificados las pipas de gas tan bien metálicos para asegurarse de que no tengan corrosión. Cualquier situación peligrosa debe ser reparada inmediatamente o se debe cerrar el flujo de gas. Si no se mantienen las pipas de gas puede estar sujeto a corrosión o fugas. Cuando deban realizarse excavaciones cerca de las pipas de gas enteradas, estas deben ser localizadas por adelantado y realizar la excavación a mano.

Before You Dig

  1. Outline your project area using white paint or generic white flags so utility locaters can quickly identify where the digging is taking place.
  2. Submit a request to have all underground utility lines marked. If you hired a contractor or landscaper, make sure they contact 811 first.
  3. Wait 2-3 working days to ensure utility locators have time to properly mark your digging site. For everyone’s safety during this time, we ask that you refrain from approaching the 811 crew member marking your property.*
  4. Avoid digging within 18-24 inches of the markers on all sides to prevent an injury or serious damage.

    NOTE: Markers are only valid for approximately 28 days. If the markers become invalid, damaged or wash away, you must request 811 again.

Why contact 811?

At NorthWestern Energy, underground pipelines are a safe and reliable way for us to deliver essential energy to customers and communities. Underground lines are also used to transport water, sewage, irrigation, cable, internet and phone. And any of these could be running under your property—some only a few inches below ground. Hitting one of these buried lines while digging can knock out service to your home and neighborhood, cost money to repair and cause serious injury. Contacting 811 ensures that you stay safe and that the underground utility lines are protected.

Hit a pipeline? Call 911.

We take our job of ensuring pipeline safety very seriously. It’s why we routinely inspect and maintain our natural gas lines. It’s also why we add a skunky, rotten egg smell to our natural gas to help you detect leaks. Unfortunately, the leading cause of serious pipeline incidents is outside force damage—which is usually entirely preventable.

If you think you’ve hit a natural gas pipeline, call 911. In the event of a natural gas emergency, you can also count on us to implement our emergency plan to keep the area safe.

What do the colors mean?

811 Color Chart to define what colors are for what types of underground types

A universal color system is used to identify existing underground utility lines. Properly marking these lines helps keep them and the public protected during digging and excavation projects.

For more information

Download our Natural Gas Pipeline Safety (~2MB)
Call (888) 467-2669 if you live in Montana
Call (800) 245-6977 if you live in South Dakota or Nebraska

* We've implemented several protocols to help us continue to provide reliable, safe service as we all work together to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Visit our Covid-19 information page to learn more.






According to the laws of the states in which NorthWestern operates, anyone who excavates, trenches, plows, drills, augers, blasts, strips topsoil or levels land is required to give notice at least two working days before any excavation work is started. Excavators who damage underground facilities without first calling to request and obtain locates must pay the full cost of repairs. In the case of personal injury or loss of life, as the excavator, you may be subject to a civil suit. When electrical, natural gas, and other service lines are ruptured or damaged, the responsible excavator is charged for the repair. The maintenance of buried gas piping downstream of the gas meter to gas fired appliances or other various structures on the property is the responsibility of the home/property owner or current occupant. NorthWestern Energy is required to inform customers with privately-owned natural gas or propane service lines of their responsibility to inspect and maintain their piping (Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR 192.16). Customers should have the pipes periodically inspected for leaks and metallic pipes should also be inspected for corrosion by qualified professionals. Any unsafe conditions should be repaired immediately or the flow of gas should be shut off. Piping that is not maintained may be subject corrosion or leaking. When digging near buried gas pipes, the pipes should be located in advance and the excavation done by hand.

El mantenimiento de pipas de gas enteradas desde el medidor de gas a los aparatos que funcionan con gas u otras estructuras diferentes en la propiedad es la responsabilidad del dueño de la propiedad / casa o inquilino actual. Se le requiere a NorthWestern Energy informar a sus clientes con líneas de gas natural de propiedad privada o servicio de gas propano sobre su responsabilidad de tener inspecciones y mantener sus pipas de gas al (Código de las regulaciones federales 49 CFR 192.16). Los clientes deben tener inspecciones de las pipas de gas periódicamente para verificar que no haya fugas y se deben también inspeccionar por profesionales calificados las pipas de gas tan bien metálicos para asegurarse de que no tengan corrosión. Cualquier situación peligrosa debe ser reparada inmediatamente o se debe cerrar el flujo de gas. Si no se mantienen las pipas de gas puede estar sujeto a corrosión o fugas. Cuando deban realizarse excavaciones cerca de las pipas de gas enteradas, estas deben ser localizadas por adelantado y realizar la excavación a mano.

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