Aug. 11 is National Safe Digging Day, an important reminder to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked.
By law, anyone planning to excavate or demolish is required to call 811 at least three days before work begins. Whether you’re a contractor planning an excavation project or a homeowner building a deck or addition onto your home, the “Call Before You Dig” law applies at all times.
Here’s how it works:
- When you call 811, a representative will ask for the location and description of your digging project.
- The call center will notify affected utility companies, who will send a professional locator to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines.
- Once lines have been properly marked, you can dig in other areas.
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, the association 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.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in damage to gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries and costly repairs.
The Common Ground Alliance has released a handbook of best practices to help you know when to call be fore you dig.