Serving as a crucial reminder for customers to contact 811 before digging, August 11 marked National 811 Safe Digging Day. To observe the occasion, National Grid was reminding customers and contractors nationwide to call 811 before starting any digging or excavation project (no matter how big or small) to have underground utility lines properly marked. Dig Safe ® is a free service funded solely by its utility members to promote public safety and avoid costly underground utility damage.
An underground utility line is damaged every few minutes because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in severe injury or death, inconvenient service disruptions, and costly fines and repairs. Hitting underground gas, electric, communications, water, and sewer lines while digging can have a major impact on communities and businesses. Making a free request before digging online at www.811beforeyoudig.com or by calling 811 will help everyone who digs maintain essential utility service for their communities while keeping themselves and their neighbors safe by reducing the likelihood of accidentally digging into buried utility lines.
“On August 11 and throughout the year, National Grid wants to remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to use the free 811 service before digging to keep themselves, their family, and community safe by reducing the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Caroline Hon, Senior Vice President of Network Strategy and Planning, National Grid U.S. “Calling 811 or visiting www.811beforeyoudig.com is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you can dig safely and keep your community safe and connected. Safe digging is critical in ensuring the safety of our employees, the public, and local communities that we proudly serve daily.”
Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. It’s not only the safe and smart thing to do – it’s the law! A call to 811 is the best safeguard and the first line of defense to preventing strikes on underground utility lines. The depth of utility lines can vary for several reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces. Utility lines must be appropriately marked in each previously marked location to avoid risk.
As part of National Safe Digging Day, National Grid encourages everyone to take the following steps when planning a digging project this summer:
• Always contact 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
• Plan ahead. Make a free 811 request on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
• Confirm that all lines have been marked.
• Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
• If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has contacted 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
• Visit www.811beforeyoudig.com for complete information.
Everyone who contacts 811 before digging is connected to a local 811 center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags, or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas. The service is easy to use and free of charge.
State laws mandate that 811 must be contacted a few days before beginning projects requiring excavation. Failure to call 811 may be punishable by fines, which in some states can be as high as $1,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for subsequent violations.
National Grid works closely with local fire and police departments; with their strong support, people are calling before they dig. Calling 811 can avoid an incident that requires police and fire response.
• Massachusetts: Call 811 or 1-888-DIG-SAFE (344-7233) | digsafe.com
• Metro New York, Long Island, and the Rockaways: Call 811 or 1-800-272-4480 | newyork-811.com
• Upstate New York: Call 811 or 1-800-962-7962 | UDigNY.org
• When It Comes to 811, There’s No Kidding Around – National Grid Safety video
National Grid (NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York and Massachusetts. National Grid is focused on building a smarter, stronger, cleaner energy future — transforming our networks with more reliable and resilient energy solutions to meet state climate goals and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, please visit our website, follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, like us on Facebook and find us on Instagram.