April marks another annual National Safe Digging Month, reminding Wisconsin residents to always call 811 three business days before any digging project.
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors in Wisconsin are connected to Diggers Hotline, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. Nationally, every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after a call to 811.
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.