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Mar 29

Want to plant new trees or add a fence? Call 811 first to dig safely

Posted on March 29, 2021 at 8:50 pm by Clay Curtin

Safety officials remind everyone to always call 811 before excavating or digging of any kind. 811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number. Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 a few business days before digging to request that the approximate location of buried utilities be marked. A simple call to 811 can prevent cut lines, damaged infrastructure, power outages, costly fines and in some cases, serious injury.

Every six minutes in the U.S., an underground utility line is damaged because someone started digging without first calling 811. This free service managed by Underground Service Alert and available to everyone. After you call, Underground Service Alert will contact PG&E and other companies that have underground lines in your area. Representatives will then mark the location of their underground lines so you can avoid them and dig safely. Whether you are planting a tree or a garden, or digging holes for fence posts, call 811 at least two business days before you plan to start your project. Customers can also submit a locate request online.

Tips for safe digging:
  • Know what’s below. Call 811 or make an online request at least 48 hours before digging to have underground lines marked.
  • Projects large and small require a call. This includes activities such as planting trees, building decks and installing a fence or mailbox. 
  • Dig with care. The horizontal location of underground utilities will be marked, but their depth will not be. Any time you suspect unmarked hazards or if you must dig near a marked utility line, hand dig the area carefully. Backfill the soil gently to avoid damaging any utilities.
If an underground facility is struck:
  • Leave the area immediately and tell others to stay away
  • Call 911 and then call 811 to report the incident 
  • Report even minor damage; what looks harmless can cause big trouble
811 protects you and your community! Hitting a buried line while digging can disrupt utility service, cost money to repair, or cause serious injury or death. Always contact your 811 center, wait the required time for utilities to respond to your request, and ensure that all utilities have responded to your request before putting a shovel in the ground. For more information, watch the call 811 before you dig video presented by PG&E.