Good day and reasons to call 811 before digging

Today is Aug. 11 — an annual reminder to always dial before you dig.

National 811 Day is observed on this date each year to stress the importance of calling that number before putting tools to ground, be it a professional excavator or homeowners.

Millions of miles of cable, pipes and other lines have been buried and could be just a short depth below the surface, making even the smallest home project a potential risk.

An underground utility line is damaged every six minutes in the U.S. because someone failed to call 811 — the national “Call Before You Dig” phone number — or connect online at www.call811.com before digging, according to Common Ground Alliance, which since 2007 has promoted the 811 number and www.811.com.

Yet a recent survey indicated 45 percent of those planning such projects admitted they would skip checking with 811.

Aside from violating the law, failing to have buried utilities marked before digging could lead to an interruption in service, costly repairs or serious injury.

In Michigan, MISS DIG is the central contact for the protection of underground utilities. The MISS DIG System’s primary function is to process requests from individuals planning to dig and notifying member utilities about these excavations.

The member utilities then mark the dig site, indicating the approximate location of their underground public utility lines.

The MISS DIG System is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergency and non-emergency requests.

If you are planning a project that involves digging, state law requires you to notify MISS DIG at least three working days in advance. Requests can be filed online or by calling 811.

Likewise, in Wisconsin, Diggers Hotline can be reached both online or by calling 811.

So take the time, call the line and make sure it’s safe to start poking around in the ground.

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