(BPT) - With the snow melted and the ground thawed, many eager homeowners and landscape professionals are ready to start projects that require digging this spring.
During this transition into “digging season,” Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the association dedicated to protecting underground utilities and the people who dig near them, reminds homeowners and professional diggers that calling 811 is the first step toward protecting you and your community from the risk of unintentionally damaging an underground line.
Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a free call to 811. Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck or landscaping are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811. Calling this number connects you to your local one-call utility notification center.
According to data collected by CGA, more than half of American homeowners will not make a free call to 811 before digging. Out of those surveyed, 67 percent know that the paint and flags on the ground are used to mark buried utilities, indicating that awareness of underground infrastructure is high among homeowners, but the importance of calling 811 is low.
Here’s how it works:
* One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for your local one-call center to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Call a few days prior to digging to ensure enough time for the approximate location of utility lines to be marked with flags or paint.
* When you call 811, a representative from your local one-call center will ask for the location and description of your digging project.
* Your local one-call center will notify affected utility companies, which will then send professional locators to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines.
* Only once all lines have been accurately marked, roll up those sleeves and carefully dig around the marked areas.
There are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States that your family depends on for everyday needs including electric, gas, water and sewer, cable TV, high-speed Internet and landline telephone.
Unintentionally striking one of these lines can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods, harm to yourself or your neighbors and repair costs. Every six minutes, homeowners and professionals unintentionally damage an underground utility line because they did not call 811 before digging.
According to the most recent data from CGA, damage occurs less than 1 percent of the time when the digger has called 811 before a project. To find out more information about 811 or the one-call utility notification center in your area, visit www.call811.com.