April is Safe Digging Month
Portage, MI – As spring starts and outdoor digging projects begin, Wolverine Pipe Line Company (Wolverine) wants to remind the community that April is Safe Digging Month.
Homeowners, farmers, landscapers, business owners, contractors, and excavators are encouraged to always call their state one-call system by dialing 8-1-1 or visiting https://call811.com/ before digging so underground utilities can be marked. Having an established safe digging practice can prevent unintentional damage to pipelines. This ultimately protects your property and helps prevent injuries on the job.
“Please remember that you can never assume you know where a pipeline is located under the ground based on the mowed right-of-way or utility signs and markers,” said Right-of-Way and Claims Supervisor at Wolverine Pipe Line Company, Lou Kraus. “It is impossible to tell the depth of the pipeline or if it curves or angles underground. The only sure way to know where the pipeline is located is to dial 8-1-1 and Call Before You Dig.”
Though home projects involving plants, fences, or mailboxes may not feel like a large concern considering their small nature, homeowners should still call 8-1-1 to double check the ground is safe. It is easy to forget that there are networks of pipelines, cables, and other utilities beneath the places we choose to dig. This is especially true if there has been severe weather recently in your area, which can cause gas lines to get tangled.
“Tens of millions of Americans plan to do DIY digging projects this year, but according to our survey, 42% of them admit that they will not call 811 beforehand, which puts homeowners and their communities at risk,” says Sarah Magruder Lyle, President & CEO of the Common Ground Alliance. “Calling 811 a few days before any planned home improvement projects that require digging – including common landscaping projects like planting trees and shrubs – is critical.”
Every nine minutes, an underground utility line is damaged by someone who wanted to dig but did not check to see if it was safe. The risk of injury and even death is serious. Aside from the consequences to property and body, the cost of repair and the possibility of being fined make the decision to dig without calling imprudent. Save yourself the time and the hassle and make sure to call 8-1-1 before you dig.
Below are some safe digging tips to follow:
- Notify your state’s 811 center by calling 811 or making an online request (2 business days in Illinois and Indiana, 3 business days in Michigan) before work begins. The 811 center will transmit information to affected utility operators.
- Wait a few days (at least 48 hours in Illinois and Indiana, 72 hours in Michigan) to allow utilities to send out locators to mark buried lines with paint or flags. On average, between 7-8 utility operators are notified for each request.
- Confirm that all utilities have responded to your request. Use the process explained by your 811 call center representative or outlined on your 811 center ticket to confirm that each utility has responded.
- Respect the utility marks (yellow paint and flags for petroleum). The marks provided by utility operators are your guide for the duration of your project. If you are unable to maintain the marks during your project, or the project will continue past your request’s expiration date (life of ticket or until marks fade in Illinois, 20 days in Indiana, 21 days if digging is started within 14 days of dig start date in Michigan), please contact your 811 center to ask for a remark.
- Dig carefully! Avoid digging on top or within 18” in Illinois and Michigan and 24” in Indiana on all sides of utility marks, which may mean moving your project to another part of your yard less congested by buried lines. If you must dig near the marks or use machinery of any kind, contact your state’s 811 center about the laws in your state.
Wolverine Pipeline Company wishes you the best in your digging projects and reminds you to call 811 before you dig. If you want to find out more information, you can visit the website https://call811.com/ and Wolverine’s company website https://wolverinepipeline.com.