BGE wants to remind everyone to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Nationwide, every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Miss Utility, the local one-call center, which notifies BGE and other utilities of the intent to dig at a location. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.
“Throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground gas, electric or other utility line,” said Robert D. Biagiotti, vice president of gas distribution for BGE. “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area.”
Striking a single underground line can cause injuries and result in 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 where a call to 811 should be the first step.
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Even when utility lines are properly marked, excavators must proceed carefully. The best bet is to redesign a project to avoid digging anywhere near marked underground utilities. Hand dig with extreme caution and never use mechanized excavation equipment within 18 inches of marked utilities. Even hand tools like shovels, picks and digging bars can easily damage underground lines.
Visit www.bge.com/811 for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.