FERGUS FALLS, MN – April 6, 2020 – In observance of National Safe Digging Month in April, Great Plains Natural Gas today announced results from a recent national survey. The results revealed that 36 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year for projects like landscaping, installing a fence or mailbox, or building a deck, pond or patio, will put themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 811 to locate underground utilities.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when natural gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged.
The national survey of homeowners conducted in March by Common Ground Alliance, the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the people who dig near them, also revealed an estimated 31 million homeowners plan to complete home improvement projects that involve digging this year. The most popular planned projects cited among surveyed homeowners who plan to dig include:
- Planting a tree or shrub (61%)
- Building a patio or deck (30%)
- Building a fence (28%)
- Installing a mailbox (13%)
Calling 811 a few days before any planned home improvement project that requires digging – including common landscaping projects like planting trees and shrubs – is critical to preventing incidents like service outages and serious injuries.
As part of National Safe Digging Month, Great Plains 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 the contractor has called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
- Visit www.call811.com for complete info.
Everyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one call notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.