April is traditionally National Safe Digging Month, and spring is a common time to tackle outdoor improvement plans. ECI REC is reminding all members to call Iowa One Call by dialing 811 before you dig, whether your project is a deck addition, trenching in fields, or a landscaping masterpiece.
Why? Underground utilities, such as buried gas, water, and electric lines, can be a shovel thrust away from turning a summer project into a disaster. Although light gardening typically doesn’t call for deep digging, other seemingly simple tasks like planting shrubs or installing a new mailbox post can damage utility lines. A severed line can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm the person digging, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.
To find out where utility lines run on your property, dial 811 from anywhere in the country at least two days prior to digging.
When you make the call, tell the operator where you’re planning to dig and what type of work you will be doing, and affected local utilities will be notified. In a few days, a locator will arrive to designate the approximate location of any underground lines, pipes, and cables with flags or marking paint so you’ll know what’s below. Then the safe digging can begin.
A national survey showed that only 33% of homeowners called to have their lines marked before starting digging projects, according to the Common Ground Alliance, a federally mandated group of underground utility and damage prevention industry professionals. “ECI REC hopes all members take the time to call Iowa One Call at 811—it’s not worth the risk to start digging without making the call,” said Manager of Communications Lisa Franck.
For more information about local services, visit www.call811.com.