It’s the season for summer projects, maybe planting a new tree or garden, or perhaps installing a new fence or mailbox. These endeavors all have one thing in common – you are going to have to dig. But before you do, there’s one crucial step you need to take – call 811.
Beneath the grass in every lawn are buried utilities: electric, gas, water, telephone, and sewage. Any time you dig, even a shallow amount, you run the risk of hitting those utility lines. 811 is a national hotline you must call before digging that informs your local utility providers of your intention, so that they can mark their lines so that you can avoid them while working on your project.
“Simply put, 811 is a public safety service ensuring that homeowners and excavators can have their underground utilities located,” said NIPSCO Public Awareness Program Manager Jennifer Barbour. “Failing to call 811 before digging could put someone at risk or others’ utility services at risk.”
No matter how deep you are digging or if you suspect you know where the lines are - Indiana residents are required by law to call 811.
“It’s common for people to say, ‘I wasn’t going to dig that deep,’ or ‘I know where the lines are,’” Barbour said. “Those are some of the most common reasons we hear after someone has damaged a utility after not calling 811.”
Making the call protects you, your neighbors, and eliminates the risks of paying for costly repairs or fines.
“Any projects that disturbs the ground requires a call to 811 in the interest of safety and utility service,” Barbour said. “If someone damages a utility line, they could be subject to the cost of repairs, civil penalties, and safety consequences.”
Making the call is 100% free as well as easy and convenient. Before you dial, simply have your address, the nearest cross streets, and the type of project you are starting on hand. Then, within two business days, the utility providers will mark their lines with color coded flags and painted lines.
“If you really want to help expedite getting the utility marks on the ground, take some white paint and outline the dig area,” Barbour said. “You can even go online to Indiana811.org to place the ticket request.”
To learn more about 811, including the color codes used by utilities, visit www.nipsco.com/811.