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Identify buried lines: Call 811 before you dig

Before building a fence, planting a tree, or beginning other projects that require digging, remember to dial 811 first. 

Underground utilities, such as buried electric, gas, and water lines, can be a shovel thrust away from turning a project into a disaster. Stay safe by dialing 811 to find out where utility lines run on your property. Your call will be routed to a local “one-call” center. Tell the operator where you’re planning to dig and what type of work you will be doing, and affected utilities will be notified.

In a few days, a locator will arrive to designate the approximate location of any underground lines, pipes and cables. These areas will be marked with flags or paint, so you’ll know what’s below. Then the safe digging can begin.

Although many people are aware of “Call Before You Dig” services, the majority don’t take advantage of the service. A national survey showed that only 50 percent of homeowners called to have their lines marked before starting digging projects, according to the Common Ground Alliance.

Even simple tasks like installing a mailbox post can damage utility lines, disrupt service to an area, harm diggers, and potentially result in fines and repair costs. Never assume the location or depth of lines. There’s no need: the 811 service is free, prevents the inconvenience of having utilities interrupted, and can help you avoid serious injury.

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