April is ‘safe digging month’

This April is National Safe Digging Month, reminding Tennessee residents to call 811 at least three business days before any digging project.

National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and earned support from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who signed a Proclamation declaring the special month in Tennessee.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Tennessee 811, the local one-call center, 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.

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.

“As April marks the traditional start of digging season, we are using this month to strongly encourage individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin digging,” said Darren Hatter, Training and Compliance Manager of PCUD.

“By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and professionals are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected.”

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.

Powell-Clinch Utility District encourages area residents to visit pcud.org or tennessee811.com for more information about digging safely.