Before beginning a dig at your home or business, it is important that you call 811 as there is always a chance of unintentionally digging into an underground utility line.
- Even if you have excavated an area previously, erosion, settling ground, and other factors can change the depth and location of utilities over time.
According to the American Public Gas Association, nearly 2 out of 5 U.S. homeowners will put themselves and their communities at risk this year by digging without calling 811 beforehand.
“Safe digging is everyone’s responsibility,” said Jenni Brunson, Okaloosa Gas. “But when someone decides to take shortcuts, weekend projects can lead to Internet, cable, power and natural gas outages, injuries and sometimes worse.”
According to Brunson, that’s why it’s so important (actually, it’s law) to have buried utilities in your easement, right of way and permitted use areas located and marked before you dig.
- Failure to call substantially increases the chance of causing damage to natural gas or utility pipelines, thereby placing you and the public at risk.
Okaloosa Gas District is reminding homeowners to call 811 to have pipelines located and marked by professionals at no cost before any construction or excavation begins – this includes any digging by hand or machinery.
“Even actions as simple as planting a tree or installing a sprinkler system that a homeowner may do himself requires advance line-spotting,” says Brent Haywood, VP of Operations for Okaloosa Gas District. “Damage to pipelines from outside forces, mainly unauthorized diggers, is the most common cause of pipeline damage and natural gas leaks.”
Haywood says there are hazards associated with not dialing 811 for line spotting 48 hours in advance of digging. Not calling is not only unsafe, but is against the law.
“By everyone — residents, contractors and officials — calling ahead and having natural gas or other utility pipelines located and marked prior to digging, most accidents can be avoided,” he said.