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Tips 811 Brings Utility Locators to You

Everyone gets excited when the Fall weather rolls around, and many homeowners are quick to start new landscaping projects. It’s a great time to plant trees and shrubs, install water features or decks, and put new fences up to enclose your yard.

If you’re planning an outdoor project, remember: before you do anything, call 811 first. It’s critical to know the location of all your underground utility lines.

Why 811?

The national, 811 hotline was launched in 2005 with support from the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), which is a coalition of excavators, road builders, utility and emergency service providers, and others. Their goal is to help prevent damage to America’s extensive underground infrastructure, thereby reducing related injuries and deaths.

811 was designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to give quick, easy access to line location services. With just a single number to remember, there’s no excuse not to call.

How it works

When you or your contractor calls 811, the call will be routed to your local “one call” center. Your local operator will ask about the digging location, and then route your information to the appropriate utility companies.

Each company — which may include gas, electric, cable TV, water and other providers — will then send representatives to your location to mark your lines. Typically, lines are marked with small flags that can be easily removed when your project is complete.

It’s that easy! Just remember to call at least two days before you plan to do your digging.

What if I don’t call?

Calling before you dig isn’t just a suggestion — it’s the law. When you dig without knowing the location of your utility lines, you risk injuring yourself and others, or doing damage to critical power lines. Such damage can result in service outages for your entire neighborhood, which may mean fines and repair costs for you.

Once isn’t always enough

Over time, erosion, root growth and other factors can affect the depth and location of utility lines, so be sure to call before any digging project, even if you’ve had your lines marked previously. After all, when it comes to digging, it’s better to be safe than sorry!