811 Day reminds public of laws to call utility before digging

National 811 Day was recognized Sunday, Aug. 11. To mark the occasion, Dominion Energy urged homeowners and professional excavators to practice safety measures by calling 811 to have underground utility lines marked before doing any digging project.

“It’s simple to call 811, it’s free of charge and, not least, it’s mandatory under Utah law,” said Craig Wagstaff, president of gas distribution for the utility company. “Third-party interference is the leading cause of damage to underground utilities. Calling 811 before digging helps ensure safety and prevents accidental tear-outs, potential injuries, property damage and utility-service interruptions.”

An organization called Common Ground Alliance is using the calendar date of Aug. 11, or 8/11, as a reminder that state law requires property owners – whether they are doing the work themselves or hiring a professional – to dial 811 to have underground utility lines marked, at least two business days, but no more than 10 business days, prior to any digging project. Utah law mandates that people call 811 for every digging project, no matter how big or small. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck or planting a tree are all examples of digging projects that require a call to 811 before starting.

While promoting the call-before-you-dig message, Dominion Energy in a recent press release aims to dispel common misconceptions about 811, the process and its importance:

Myth 1: “Calling 811 takes time and money away from my project.” Fact: The call to 811 and the professional location service is paid by utilities for your safety.

Myth 2: “I remember when the utilities were put in” or “I’m digging in a spot that was marked before.” Fact: Erosion and root system growth can change the depth and location of buried lines, or your utility companies may have completed work on their facilities since your last call.

Myth 3: “I’ve hired contractors or landscapers to do the digging project. They know what they’re doing.” Fact: Contractors or landscapers do not know where underground utility lines are located. Always check with contractors to make sure they have contacted 811 and utilities have been marked before digging-related work begins.

Myth 4: “There’s no need to call 811 if there’s a pipeline marker. The marker shows me where the line is.” Fact: Dominion Energy pipeline markers indicate that there is a pipeline in the area. Calling 811 is still required to know the location of the pipeline.

Myth 5: “If I hit a gas line and nothing happens, it’s not a big deal.” Fact: Even if the line doesn’t appear to be damaged, call Dominion Energy at 1-800-767-1689. Protective coating damage or even a small dent in a gas line could cause an issue in the future.