With the snow gone and the ground thawed, many eager homeowners and landscape professionals across the country are rolling up their sleeves and reaching for their shovels to start projects that require digging this spring.

During the transition into “digging season,” Common Ground Alliance, the association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and people who dig near them, reminds homeowners and professional diggers to call 811. This is the first step toward protecting you and your community from the risk of unintentionally damaging an underground line.

A utility line is damaged every six minutes in America because someone decided to dig without making a call to 811 to learn the approximate location of buried utilities in their area. Unintentionally striking one of these lines can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods. Also, you could harm yourself or your neighbors and pay hefty repair costs.

Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a free call to 811. Whether it’s installing a mailbox or building a fence or deck, only begin a few days after calling 811. Calling this number connects you to your local one-call utility notification center.

How 811 Works

  1. 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 before you dig so the approximate location of utility lines can be marked with flags or paint.
  2. When you call 811, a representative will ask for the location and description of your digging project.
  3. Your local one-call center will notify affected utility companies. Then they will send professional locators to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines.

  4. Once the utility company marks all lines, roll up those sleeves and carefully dig around the marked areas.

There are almost 19 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. That equals more than a football field’s length of utilities for every person in the United States. With that much critical infrastructure underground, it’s important to know what’s below and call 811 before digging.

To find out more information about 811 or the one-call utility notification center in your area, visit call811.com.

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