It’s National Safe Digging Month

Here's what you need to know

VICTORIA, Texas – Soon, homeowners across the nation will begin their summer outdoor projects of building mailboxes, fences, or a pool in the backyard for the family. Although, before you get your tools and go outside, you need to dial 8-1-1 first.

National Safe Digging Month is to promote safe digging practices and protect our buried utility infrastructure. Damage from excavation activities to water and gas pipelines, along with sewer systems and buried distribution power lines, remains a leading cause of utility incidents resulting in death or injury.

So why do you need to call 8-1-1?

8-1-1 is a nationally available, universal number to call before you dig to have all underground utilities located and marked at no charge. When you call 8-1-1, your call is routed to your local One-Call Center. Tell them where you plan to dig and what type of work you will be doing. Your local utilities or pipeline companies will be notified. In a couple of days, they will send a locator to mark the approximate location of your underground pipelines or cable so you’ll know what’s below and can dig safely.

Here is a list of things to remember.

  • 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.pipeline-safety.org for complete info.

Centerpoint energy’s Director of Damage prevention, Ashley Babcock, spoke on the importance of calling 811 before doing any digging projects.

“It’s so important because it is the number one impact to causing a leak or damage to our very pipeline facilities, it can be extremely dangerous,” said Babcock. ” It’s the law to call 811 before any digging project.”

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

Always call 8-1-1 before you dig, it could save your life.