Every six minutes, an underground utility line is damaged somewhere in the U.S. because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
INDIANAPOLIS - Aug. 11 is just one day a year, but Indiana Electric Cooperatives hopes the 8/11 date on the calendar will serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 any day of the year before a digging project.Every six minutes, an underground utility line is damaged somewhere in the United States because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. “811 Day reminds homeowners and professional contractors to make that call,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. Calling 811 with your intent to dig will bring all the appropriate utilities out to mark the approximate locations of their buried lines with flags, spray paint or both. This is a free service. “Whether it’s electric, gas or water, you don’t want to accidentally dig into a buried utility,” Elkins added. 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. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting. Indiana requires two full working days’ advanced notice to the 811 center or online before a digging project to give the utilities enough time to mark the approximate location of their underground utilities on your property. Each utility will be marked in a specific color. The marks are valid for 20 days. Before you contact Indiana 811, you will need to know specific details about where you plan to dig, including the county, township, street address, nearest intersecting street and location on the property. You will also need the name and phone number of the person who will do the digging. It’s recommended the designated area be marked with white paint or flags, so the utilities know where you plan to excavate. “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in where,” noted Elkins. “And, after all, calling before you dig is the law.”