National 811 Day is August 11, 2022. This is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your safe digging knowledge.
With cooler weather around the corner, many of us are taking full advantage of these last few weeks of summer. For some, that means lounging by the pool with a glass of lemonade. For others, it means tackling all the outdoor home improvement projects we said we’d get done this year (and haven’t yet).
So, at the peak of deck-building, mailbox-installing, tree-planting season, now is the ideal time for a refresher on the importance of contacting 811 before you dig.
Here’s what you need to know for this year’s National 811 Day:
You might think 811 tickets are only for major construction projects—the kind that involve bulldozers and backhoes. But in reality, anyone planning a digging project should submit an 811 ticket before they begin.
Something as simple as installing a fence or planting shrubs can put you at risk of damaging underground utilities.
Factors like soil erosion and tree root growth can change the depth of utilities over time. So even if you’ve dug in a particular spot before, there’s no guarantee that you’re in the clear this time. That’s why it’s important to submit a new ticket every time you dig.
There’s no charge to have locators mark buried utilities in your dig area. However, if you don’t get in touch with 811, and facilities are damaged in the course of your project, you could be liable for the cost of repairs.
The total societal cost of damage to buried utilities in the United States is estimated at $30 billion annually. This figure includes both the direct costs of facility repair and the indirect costs of lost revenue for businesses, medical care, and property damage. Unless you want to end up paying towards those costs, make sure you contact 811.
To help keep yourself and your utilities safe, you can indicate to locators exactly where you plan to dig by whitelining your proposed work site. Simply mark the dig area with white spray paint or flags, and the locators will know that they need to find the buried utilities within that area.
Make sure to contact 811 at least two full business days before you start digging.
This gap between submitting your ticket and breaking ground on your project provides enough time for facility operator representatives to send out locators, and for locators to find and mark all buried lines in the excavation area.
If you hire a contractor to complete a project that involves digging, it’s always a good idea to make sure that they contact 811 before they’re scheduled to begin work.
You can either submit a ticket electronically, or pick up a phone and dial 811. For the online ticket system, start at Call811.com or go directly to your state’s 811 website. Many state 811 centers also provide convenient mobile apps, so you can submit a ticket right from your smartphone. If you decide to call, you’ll automatically be routed to your local 811 center.
Regardless of how you get in touch, the process is the same. You’ll be asked to provide some basic information about your digging project, and then you’ll receive a ticket number that confirms your request has been submitted. You’ll get instructions on how long to wait before you start digging, and how to verify that all relevant utilities have been located and marked.
It’s a simple process that can save a lot of headache down the line.
No matter what projects you have planned for the rest of the summer, with these key takeaways in mind, you’ll be well prepared to dig safely.
For more information or to submit a ticket, visit Call811.com.