Before starting a home improvement project, call 811 before you digging

In observance of National Safe Digging Month in April, Great Plains Natural Gas announced results from a recent national survey revealing that 49 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year will put themselves and their communities at risk by digging without contacting 811 beforehand to learn the approximate location of underground utilities. 

Additionally, 58 percent of homeowners reported experiencing a utility service interruption in the last 12 months, a direct result of damaging an underground utility line.

Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs at the expense of the homeowner when natural gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, laying a patio and pounding stakes are some examples of digging projects that require contacting 811 before starting.

As part of National Safe Digging Month, homeowners are encouraged to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:

• Always contact 811 a few days before digging, regardless of depth or familiarity of the property.

• If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has contacted 811. Don’t allow work to begin until an 811 locate ticket has been completed.

• Confirm that all utilities listed on your 811 locate ticket request have been marked or cleared – in any area you plan to dig – before digging.

• Contact the utility listed on the locate ticket if they have not responded by the due date listed on your ticket.

• Consider moving the location of your project if it is near marked utility lines.

• Carefully hand dig within two feet of the marked lines and visually determine the exact location of the utility line before proceeding if your dig project is next to a marked line.

• Do not  build structures (sheds, shops, decks, etc.) over utility lines, as this restricts access to the utility lines and can result in a dangerous situation.

• Remember that damaging a utility line is dangerous and can result in expensive repair bills.

• Visit www.call811.com for complete information.