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DTE warns homeowners of damaging gas pipes during outdoor home improvements

Jeremy Buckingham

Quarantine gave people more time on their hands to finally build that new deck they’ve been wanting for years. But DTE said it also caused an uptick in people damaging utility pipes under their homes.

Homeowners should contact their local gas company through Miss Dig three days in advance of their project, said Scot Runke, damage prevention manager for DTE.

A crew will then plant flags that show where the utility lines run under the property so owners can avoid hitting them, he said.

“Every single time a gas line is hit or punctured, it can become a very serious situation very quickly," Runke said. "It can lead to injury to the person, or worse if a gas line ignites.”

State laws require homeowners to check in with a gas company before undergoing a major project, such as installing a new deck or replacing their driveway, he said. Homeowners cause nearly a quarter of the damage to utility pipes each year.

"(For) something that’s out of the ordinary, more of a major project around your home, be safe," Runke said. "Three days before, call MISS DIG or get online to MISS DIG 8-1-1."

Contact Miss Dig 811 through this website.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.