Do I Really Need to Call 811 Before I Dig?

YES!! …even if it is just a small flower bed? Yes…what about just installing a post? Yes…what if I hire a landscaper or contractor to do the work? Yes, discuss it and make sure that 811 is called, even if you have to do it yourself.

Why bother, it will slow my project down? Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in damage to natural gas, electric, communications, water, and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries, and costly repairs. An underground utility line is damaged once every six minutes nationwide because someone decided to dig without first calling 811, according to data collected by Common Ground Alliance (CGA). The CGA is dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the safety of people who dig near them, collects information from utility owners throughout the United States to measure the scope of damages nationwide.

Call before you dig, it so important it is a federal law to call 811 at least two business days before digging.

Every time you dig follow these steps:

  1. Notify – call 811.
  2. Wait – utilities will be marked out in 2-3 days.
  3. Confirm -that all affected utility operators have responded to your request by comparing the marks to the list of utilities the one-call center notified. If they are, dig safely if they are not, call again.
  4. Respect the marks -State laws generally prohibit the use of mechanized equipment within 18-24 inches of a marked utility, which is called the “tolerance zone” (click here for information from your state).
  5. Dig Safely – Avoid digging near the marks (within 18-24 inches on all sides, depending on state law), consider moving your project to another part of your yard.

Making a call to 811 is the easiest way to make sure you keep your communities safe and connected.  Data shows that when you call 811 the appropriate amount of time before digging, you have a less than 1% chance of striking a buried utility line.

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