Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

National 811 Day: Call 811 before you dig

National 811 Day: Call 811 before you dig

"Not only is it a free call and service, it is also the law".

Once underground lines have been marked, dig with care - using only hand tools if digging within 48 inches of the marks until the location and depth of the facility is determined.

Dig Safely New York, the one-call center serving as a link between you and the underground utility operators. The 811 number was established in 2005 by the Federal Communications Commission to provide an easy and free method for protecting underground utility lines.

Striking an underground electric or natural gas line can cause serious injury, damages and service interruptions. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone chose to dig without first calling 811.

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Before starting any project, big or small, Corey says to get your information together about when and where you are going to dig and call 811 three full working days prior.

According to the Common Ground Alliance, there are more than 100 billion feet of underground utilities in the United States, equating to more than one football field's length of buried utilities for every person in the country. "Still, even with that record number of calls, 44 percent of the damage to our electric facilities in 2016 occurred because someone did not call 811 before digging".

A representative from your local one call center will answer the call to find out the location and description of the digging site.

The ground beneath us is crisscrossed with vital underground utilities.

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Miss Dig 8-1-1 is a one-call service that alerts utilities to dispatch crews to mark those underground utility lines with flags, or paint, in the area you plan to dig.

Typical homeowner projects that should prompt advance contact to MISS DIG 8-1-1 include landscaping and installation of decks, fences and sprinkler systems. If the damage results in a unsafe situation, call 9-1-1.

If you hired a contractor, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Once lines have been properly marked and you receive confirmation, you may begin your project. Once lines are located, customers and contractors doing work also must understand the markings and look for evidence of unmarked lines, such as water and sewer lines on private property.

For more information about West Virginia 811, visit or and click on the West Virginia 811 link.

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