April is National Safe Digging Month

Traditionally, April brings with it a ground swell of outdoor work, which often includes digging. Whether it is a small project or a large home improvement project, National Safe Digging Month is a way to remind us all to call 811 before starting any digging project.

Calling 811 three full working days prior to digging notifies utility companies of the intent to dig and gives representatives time to mark the appropriate lines.

811 can be called from anywhere in the country. A representative from your local one call center will answer the call to find out the location and description of the digging site. The affected utility companies will be notified of the intent to dig. The utility companies will each send a professional locator to the digging site to identify and mark the approximate location of the underground lines. Once lines have been marked, you should respect the marks and dig carefully around them.

Lines need to be marked for each separate project, such as installing a rural mailbox, putting up a fence, planting trees, landscaping or building a deck. Call a few days prior to digging to allow time for professional locators to mark the utility lines.

Even if you've hired a contractor, make sure the contractor calls 811 to have lines marked.

Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. Hitting an underground utility line while digging can cause serious injuries, disrupt service to entire neighborhoods, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.

To learn more about North Carolina 811, visit www.nc811.org.