Featured blog post by Carol Obando-Derstine, regional affairs director at PPL Electric Utilities
Did you know that an underground utility line – power line, water line, sewer line – is damaged every nine minutes in Pennsylvania? And every time someone digs into an underground power line they’re risking serious injury.
That’s why it’s so important to call 811 before digging. The call is free. Once it is placed and information about the dig area is provided, a surveying crew will visit the site to mark areas where underground utilities exist.
So, whether you’re installing a fence or mailbox post, building a deck, installing a pond or patio, planting a tree or grinding a tree stump, ensure the safety of everyone involved by calling 811.
If there’s construction going on in your neighborhood involving digging and you’re unsure whether an 811 call was placed, it never hurts to make that call just to be safe.
State law requires an 811 call before digging with any power equipment in Pennsylvania. That call must be placed three days prior to a dig. Once the call is placed, a crew will be sent out to survey the area and mark with spray paint, flags or other markers where underground utilities – power, water, sewer and gas lines and other utilities – are located.
Each year, PPL receives reports of about 60 to 75 digging incidents in which the person doing the digging failed to call 811. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission says that there are about 6,000 hits each year on underground utilities in the state.
PPL Electric Utilities recommends that an 811 call be placed for any digging activity, whether it is an old-fashioned shovel or a powered machinery, to ensure the safety of everyone involved with or living near the excavation work.
When calling 811, be prepared to share the following information:
Once you make the call, you will receive a serial number that should be kept as proof that you’ve provided the required notification prior to excavation. For more information on safe digging, visit www.pa811.org or www.pa1call.com.