Safe digging equals safe living. That’s the message and spirit of National 811 Day.
Unitil (www.unitil.com), a natural gas and electric delivery company with residential and business customers throughout New England, today joins forces with hundreds of companies to remind everyone to call a national number – 811 – at least three days before starting any digging projects, whether it’s major excavation or an ambitious backyard garden.
A quick call to 811, a federally mandated universal phone number, ensures would-be-diggers will “know what’s below” before attempting to break ground, according to Alec O’Meara, media relations manager for Unitil.
“We remain strong advocates of National 811 Day, which is an important reminder that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he said. “It’s not only a legal and personal responsibility to call the national number before digging, it’s the simplest way to keep your family, your property, your community safe and sound.”
The Federal Communications Commission in 2005 began requiring diggers in all states to call 811 to get utility lines marked before work begins. Underground lines are marked with universal colors – sometimes erroneously confused with graffiti by those unfamiliar with the program – indicating what is buried below ground:
- Red – Electric
- Orange– Communications, Telephone/CATV
- Blue – Potable Water
- Green – Sewer/Drainage
- Yellow – Gas/Petroleum Pipe Line
- Purple – Reclaimed Water
- White – Premark site of intended excavation
“Respect the marks – they show your community that you care, and it just takes a simple phone call to prevent the unwelcome consequences of an ill-planned digging project,” said Lisa Powers, public relations executive for Dig Safe System, Inc., a communication network that assists excavators, contractors and property owners in complying with state law by notifying the appropriate utilities before digging.
“811 Day is a great reminder, but we truly hope people remember to call the national number every day of the year,” she said, adding that even routine excavation activities such as installing mail boxes, privacy fences, flag poles, performing landscaping and constructing storage buildings can cause damage to utility lines.
More information about the 811 service can be found here.