April is National Safe Digging Month

Posted at 2:25 p.m.

April is recognized by underground utility damage prevention stakeholders as National Safe Digging Month. In Virginia, thousands of miles of underground utility lines provide our communities and businesses with essential public services such as natural gas, electricity, telecommunications, water and sewer. Preventing damage to these lines is a responsibility shared by all — and you can do your part in preventing a neighborhood disaster.

Calling 811 before you dig is the law.

Calling Virginia 811 (Miss Utility) before you dig is a simple step, but one that can make your construction, planting or home improvement project safer while preventing utility outages that can be inconvenient or even dangerous for your neighbors. Additionally, remember “CARE”: 

  • Call 811 before you dig.
  • Allow required time for underground utility markings.
  • Respect the markings.
  • Excavate carefully.

The Virginia Utility Protection Service, commonly called Miss Utility of Virginia, is the nonprofit organization created by Virginia’s utilities to protect their underground facilities. Miss Utility’s hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday excluding legal state and national holidays. Emergency notification service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call Miss Utility at 811 before digging on your property to avoid injuries and service disruptions from damage to underground utility lines.

When Miss Utility receives a call concerning digging or a demolition, trained staff will ask for important information about the planned work and then notify member utility operators that may have underground utility lines in your project area. Utility operators will respond by sending locators to your project area within the time allowed by law to mark the approximate horizontal location on the ground within 2 feet of the underground utility lines by means of paint, stakes or flags. There is no cost for this service. Once marked, hand digging is required within 24 inches of these marks.

Learn more online at www.va811.com and http://www.scc.virginia.gov/newsrel/u_digsafe_13.aspx.

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