Safe Digging

A national number helps homeowners and others learn where to dig safely when planting new trees and shrubbery.

Be careful where you dig!

Be careful where you dig - call the national number, 811, before you dig.

iStockphoto.com/Leslie Banks

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No gardener wants to have their yard damaged by striking an underground utility line this spring. April, with Earth Day and Arbor Day, is a great time to plant trees and shrubbery to help the environment. The month is also National Safe Digging Month, and organizers for any special events for the month, as well as other times of the year, would be smart to call 811 before digging.

Created in 2000, Common Ground Alliance is a member-driven organization with more than 1,400 individual members, member organizations and sponsors in 15 stakeholder groups from the underground utility and damage prevention industry. The groups include excavators, locators, road builders, electric, telecommunications, oil, gas, railroad, one call centers, public works, equipment manufacturing & suppliers, state regulators, insurance & engineering/design and emergency services.

CGA promotes effective damage prevention practices in order to ensure public safety, environmental protection and the integrity of services. One method is the national 811 “Call Before You Dig” number, a new federal mandate. A recent national survey showed that only 33 percent of homeowner do-it-yourselfers called to have their lines marked before starting digging projects. Simple digging jobs can damage utility lines, which can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm diggers and potentially result in fines and repair costs. Calling 811 lets diggers know what’s below before they dig.

For more information on Common Ground Alliance, visit the website.