Making a free call to 811 before digging for home improvement projects can prevent damage to underground utility lines and keep communities safe
TEXAS (KWES) – In observance of National Safe Digging Month in April, the Texas Pipeline Awareness Alliance announced results from a recent national survey.
The results revealed that 42% of homeowners who plan to dig this year for projects like landscaping, installing a fence or mailbox, or building a deck, pond or patio and other DIY projects, will put themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 811 a few days beforehand to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged.
The national public opinion survey of homeowners conducted in February by the Common Ground Alliance, the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, also revealed that 47 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year have no experience with the 811 call before you dig process.
The most popular planned projects cited among surveyed homeowners include:
- Planting a tree or shrub (47 percent)
- Building a patio or deck (24 percent)
- Building a fence (21 percent)
- Installing a mailbox (8 percent)
As part of National Safe Digging Month, the Texas Pipeline Awareness Alliance encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:
- Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
- Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
- Confirm that all lines have been marked.
- Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
- If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
- Visit www.pipeline-safety.org for complete info.
Pipeline companies carefully build and maintain their pipelines and monitor their operations around-the-clock.
Pipelines are mostly underground, buried in corridors known as pipeline right-of-ways.
These right-of-ways are long wide stretches of mowed grass, cleared of trees. Because they are silent and invisible, they are marked with signs called pipeline markers.
These signs are placed at regular intervals and mark the general, but not exact, location of a pipeline. These markers also identify the type of pipeline and contain emergency contact phone numbers.
No excavation should ever take place on marked pipeline and remove shrubs or structures that are too close to the right-of-way and can impact public safety.
Pipelines are safe and serious pipeline problems are rare, and in many cases, preventable.
If a problem does occur, it is important to know what to do and who to call.
If possible, move upwind; if inside move outside.
Do not turn on or off any electric appliances or devices and do not start an engine, car or truck and do not light a cigarette or cigar.
If you think you have accidentally hit a pipeline while digging, even if it appears not to be broken or leaking, you need to call the pipeline company so they can inspect and repair if necessary.
For more information, visit www.Pipeline-Safety.org.