With signs of spring outside our windows, many are gearing up for outdoor projects, and NIPSCO wants to remind both residents and businesses that April marks National Safe Digging Month. Before starting any project that requires excavation, NIPSCO asks customers to call 811, the national call-before-you-dig number, two business days before beginning to ensure buried utility lines are marked.
Striking an underground utility line while digging can cause harm to you or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.
In 2014, there were approximately 400 cases of system damage caused when no markings were requested across NIPSCO’s service area. Nearly 60 percent of those were the result of contractors, while the remaining damages were caused by residents. June, July and September were the top three months where the most damage took place.
“Calling 811 is a free service, and it’s the law,” said Jennifer Barbour, Damage Prevention Manager. “One simple call can prevent a multitude of problems, and we want to make sure everyone stays safe this season.”
For homeowners, the most common digging projects where damage occurs involve landscaping and fencing projects. For contractors, it’s water, sewer, telecommunication and electric work.
How 811 works:
811 is a free national service
Before any digging project—anyone from homeowners to businesses—call or enter a request online at www.811NOW.com two business days before the start of a project
811 then notifies all appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig
The utility company will send a professional locator to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of lines.
Once lines are marked, the project can start