CountryMark urges importance of calling 811 before digging projects

Apr 01 2016

In honor of National Safe Digging Month, CountryMark reminds farmers, contractors and homeowners to call 811 prior to any digging project to avoid injury and protect underground utility lines.

“This month and throughout the year, we want to remind farmers, landowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Brad Parker, CountryMark’s land, legal and right of way supervisor. “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area.”

According to Parker, an underground utility line is damaged once every six minutes nationwide due to failure to call 811 before digging.

When calling 811, homeowners, farmers and contractors are connected to an 811 one-call specialist at a local one-call center, who then notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. From spring tillage including chisel and deep ripping, installing drainage tile, post hole digging, soil sampling, leveling to installing a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree; all are examples of digging projects that warrant a call to 811 before beginning a project.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

Visit www.countrymark.com or www.call811.com for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.

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