A press release from Medina Electric Cooperative reports that there are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States. These buried facilities, including gas, water, sewer, cable TV, high-speed Internet, landline telephone and electric, provide the services Americans depend on for their basic everyday needs.
The release reminds citizens that if you are planning a job that requires digging, even if you plan to hire a professional, a call to 811 is required before you begin working. 811 is a free, FCC-designated national one-call number that connects a caller from anywhere in the country to the appropriate local one-call center. The one-call center will then alert the appropriate underground facility owners so they can dispatch locators to mark the approximate location of their lines with paint or flags.
According to the release, every eight minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. Also, according to a recent Common Ground Alliance survey, 45 percent of people who plan to dig this year will not call 811 first despite there being 100 billion feet of utility lines buried underground in the United States.
Unintentionally striking a line can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods, harm to yourself or your neighbors, and repair costs. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811.
To find out more information about Call 811 or the one-call utility notification center in your area, visit www.call811.com.