811 Day Everyday – Always Call Before You Dig!

August 3, 2018

We all appreciate modern conveniences, but nothing is more inconvenient than a utility outage. Water, natural gas, electricity, and more run beneath our feet, and digging with a blindfold to what is underground can spell trouble. No one wants the guilt of interrupting our home and neighborhood conveniences when all it took was a free and quick call to 8-1-1.

August 11 (8/11) is an annual reminder to call 811 before doing anything that requires you to dig. This means tilling a pasture, planting a tree, putting up a fence, installing drainage, building a deck, removing overgrown shrubs…anything that requires you to put a shovel or till in the dirt. All underground utility lines will be marked free of charge when you call 811. Just plan to give utility workers up to three days to mark all the lines.

Underground utilities are damaged six times every hour because someone decided to dig without calling 811. Sometimes the damage only results in cable going out or water leaking; other times, the damage can lead to personal injury, property damage or worse. Usually you are billed for the repair costs.

Don’t assume you know where all your utilities are. Just because you used to know or think you know, that’s not good enough. Let’s face it – memories aren’t 100% accurate. And do not assume that just because you are only digging “a few inches” that it will be safe. Several utilities only require a few inches of cover. Normal erosion or ground settling, even wind, can change the depth of cover over buried utilities. Why not call 811, answer a few simple questions, and let the professionals come mark all your utility line locations? This simple step can save unnecessary repairs and costs and may save a life.

“On August 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners, farmers and professional contractors to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Shawn Patterson, Vice President, Chief Operations Officer of Southern Star. “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area.”

If you see someone digging and don’t see flags or painted lines, ask, “Did you call 811?”