As a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, local utilities, including the Jefferson-Cocke County Utility District, are asking homeowners and contractors help to maintain utility service and keep communities safe, by continuing to "call 811 before you dig."

JCCUD General Manager Tommy Bible says with the increase in the number of people working from home, coupled with the warmer weather, there has been an increase in damaged underground utility lines due to homeowner digging projects.

The natural gas utilities have joined forces to remind homeowners and contractors that safe digging must remain a priority to prevent damage to critical utility services.

"Before taking on any digging project, make sure to contact Tennessee's 811 free of charge essential public safety service by calling 811 or by placing a request online to have line locations marked," says Bible.

As part of National Safe Digging Month, the gas utilities encourage homeowners to call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity of the property, confirm that all lines have been marked, consider moving the project if it is near utility line markings and do not allow work to begin if underground lines have not been marked

If you have other questions, contact your local gas utility provider or visit www.call 811.com.