ROCKY TOP, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – A survey reveals 34.9 million Americans plan to dig without contacting 811 first, risking disruption to critical services. Powell Clinch Utility District (PCUD) calls on homeowners to contact 811 before beginning projects that require digging – including gardening, building a fence or installing a mailbox – to prevent damage to essential underground utilities and keep communities safe.
In observance of National Safe Digging Month in April, PCUD announced results from a recent national survey revealing that nearly six-in-ten U.S. homeowners (58%) reported experiencing a utility service interruption during the last 12 months. In addition, 49% of U.S. homeowners who plan to dig this year will put themselves and their communities at risk by digging without contacting 811 beforehand to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries,
inconvenient service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged. Making a free request to 811 online or over the phone before digging will help homeowners maintain essential utility service for themselves and neighbors and keep communities safe, by reducing the likelihood of accidentally digging into buried utility lines.
“Almost half of U.S. homeowners – nearly 34.9 million Americans – who are planning to dig on their property this year are also putting themselves at risk of utility service interruptions and personal injury by not contacting 811 at least a few days in advance,” said Darren Hatter, Training and Compliance Manager of PCUD. “It is important that anyone who plans to put a shovel in the ground contacts 811 beforehand to have the approximate location of their buried utilities marked, so they can safely dig away from buried lines.”
The national public opinion survey of homeowners conducted in early March by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, revealed that 58% of American homeowners personally plan to complete a home improvement project involving digging in the next 12 months – and unfortunately, 49% of them, or approximately 34.9 million Americans, will take a risk by not contacting 811 beforehand. The most popular planned projects cited among surveyed homeowners who plan to dig include:
● Planting a tree or shrub: 80%
● Building a fence: 25%
● Building a deck or patio: 21%
● Installing a mailbox: 11%
● Installing a pool: 3%
● Something else: 19%
As part of National Safe Digging Month, PCUD encourages homeowners to take the following steps when
planning a digging project this spring:
● Always contact 811 three (3) working-days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the
● 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 by checking utility responses online and visiting the dig site.
● 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.tn811.com for complete information.
Everyone who contacts 811 before digging in our state is connected to Tennessee 811, our local notification
center. The notification center 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 so that digging work can be planned around the marked lines.