Posted April 1, 2016
April 1 marks the beginning of national Safe Digging Month and the annual campaign reminding U.S. homeowners and professionals with digging projects to make the free 811 call to help avoid damaging underground utilities, including power and natural gas lines.
It’s critically important. According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the United States has more than 20 million miles of underground utilities which, if accidentally damaged by digging, can have significant negative outcomes – virtually all of them avoidable if an 811 call is made before the digging begins.
Any type of digging – whether it’s a do-it-yourself project such as a deck, fence, mailbox or planting a tree, or whether you’re a contractor working on larger projects – should come after making an 811 call a few days before work commences. You can call from anywhere in the country and be routed to a local call center. Affected local utilities will be notified and will send locators to your site to mark buried lines with flags or paint.
CGA’s website includes additional information, including materials tailored for children – such as this video:
Make the call. It’s an easy yet vital step to help ensure safety.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.