This April marks the 10th annual National Safe Digging Month, which reminds Fort Morgan residents to always call 811 a few days before any digging project.
National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the U.S. Congress and has traditionally earned support from nearly every state governor across the country.
A utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide, and one-third of these incidents are caused by failure of the professional excavator or homeowner to call 811 before beginning their digging project.
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the Utility Notification Center of Colorado, the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent free of charge to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. 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 three days after a call to 811.
“As April marks the traditional start of digging season, we are using this month to strongly encourage individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin digging,” said Tony Behrends, City of Fort Morgan Gas Superintendent. “By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and professionals are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected.”
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.
National Safe Digging Month will be promoted throughout the month of April. For more information, visit www.call811.com.
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