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April is National Safe Digging Month

By Caroline Aoyagi-Stom @SCE_CarolineA

Every six minutes, an underground utility line — including gas, electric, water and communications lines — is damaged because of digging without calling 811 first.

Knowing where it is safe to dig before starting projects like putting in a fence, planting a tree or building a deck can save you from the hazards that may lie below the surface.

With an estimated 38.6 million people nationwide expected to dig this year without having their underground utility lines marked, remember to call 811 before starting any digging project.

Here are some steps you can follow to help keep you safe:

  • Call 811 a few days before you plan to start digging, whether it’s for a construction or gardening project.
  • Operators will refer you to a local utility company, which will then help mark the approximate location of a line(s) with flags or paint. Wait for your lines to be marked before starting your digging project.
  • Make sure to dig around the marked lines, not on them.
  • Remember that some utility lines are buried at shallow depths.
  • Erosion and roots may shift the location of utility lines, so it is important to call 811 before every digging project.

By following these steps, you can avoid injuries, damage to your property or prolonged power outages.

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