Survey says, if you recently completed a project that required you to dig into the ground, you probably did not take one crucial step to ensure your safety, and that’s calling 811. In fact, according to Common Ground Alliance, the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, this spring, nearly one in two homeowners don’t plan on calling 811.
So, while spring is here and you are itching to get started on those outdoor projects you’ve been thinking about all winter, be sure to take a step back and evaluate if your project requires a call to 811. Remember, every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Landscaping, planting trees and shrubs, installing a fence or mailbox, and building a deck, pond or patio, are all examples of digging projects where a call to 811 should be one of the first steps.
It’s critical that local residents, excavators and contractors know what’s below before digging. That’s why we are committed to promoting safe digging practices and doing our part to make sure contractors and excavators across the state have the latest safe digging tips and best practices.
Each year, we hold underground utility safety and damage prevention seminars to promote awareness of our underground facilities, which serve communities across the state. Local contractors, public works personnel, and excavators attend our seminars to learn about utility operator and excavator responsibilities, best practice steps to follow for safe digging, and the importance of calling 811 prior to starting any project that requires digging.
When calling 811 at least two business days prior to digging, customers and contractors are connected to Miss Utility or District One Call that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it’s safe to begin digging around the marked areas.
Protecting underground facilities is our communal responsibility. Do not put yourself or your community at risk. Do the right thing and call 811 to know what’s below.