August 11 is right around the corner, and Black Hills Energy hopes the date will remind Iowans to call 811 before starting any projects that require digging.
The summer is peak season for working in the garden and tackling home improvement and construction projects, making it incredibly important to take steps to avoid striking any underground utility lines when digging. Always call 811 at least two business days prior to digging projects.
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Iowa One Call, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, or planting a tree are examples of digging projects that necessitate a call to 811 before starting. Requests can also be made online at www.IowaOneCall.com. Professional utility locators will arrive at the digging site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with flags, spray paint or both.
Every nine minutes, an underground utility line is damaged in America because of digging without first contacting 811. Striking a single line can result in injury, repair costs or fines, and outages. For every digging project, no matter how large or small, call or click 811 – it’s free, it’s safe and it’s the law.
“Our most important responsibility is the safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve, and that includes safe digging any time of year,” said Shirley Welte, vice president of operations in Iowa. “On August 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to use the free 811 service before digging to reduce the risk of striking an underground utility line. As we continue to rely on important utilities to keep us connected and safe, contacting 811 is really the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you can dig safely.”
Black Hills Energy reminds you:
- Call or Click Before You Dig. Always “Call or Click Before You Dig” at least two working days in advance to have utility lines marked. You can call 811 toll-free, or schedule online at www.IowaOneCall.com . At no charge to you, utility locators will respond within two business days to mark the approximate location of buried utility lines at your site with color-coded paint or flags.
- Mark Your Planned Excavation Site. Using white spray paint, stakes, or flags mark the area around your planned excavation site before you call. “White-lining” helps the utility locator understand your plan and reduces the chance for project delays if the utility locator must return to locate additional areas.
- Respect the Marks. Always dig with care and use a shovel within 18 inches of utility lines as opposed to using heavy equipment. Just a nick can create a weak spot that may develop into a gas leak, cause an electrical or internet outage or result in injury.
- Don’t Rely on Old Line Locate Marks. If you don’t dig within 10 days of having utility lines marked, contact Iowa One Call at www.IowaOneCall.com again. At no charge, utility locators will gladly return to re-mark the lines as quickly as possible. Never rely on outdated information.