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Residents encouraged to call before they dig

Residents encouraged to call before they dig

Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 8:01 pm

It’s Tennessee Safe Digging Month and Tennessee homeowners and professional excavators are reminded to call 811 before starting any outdoor digging project.
April marks the start of spring digging season and Tennessee 811, Gov. Bill Haslam and Atmos Energy Corporation are encouraging homeowners to call 811 before they dig to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages. A utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide, and one-third of these incidents are caused by failure of the professional excavator or homeowner to call 811 before beginning their digging project.
“For anyone who plans to dig, calling 811 is a free, simple, one-step process that protects them, the utility companies and all the customers who could be left without service if damage occurs,” said Mike Ellis, vice president of operations for Atmos Energy. “Whether you’re digging with a shovel in your back yard or running a backhoe on a construction site, calling 811 just makes sense … and it’s the law,” he added.
When calling 811, homeowners and professional excavators are connected to Tennessee 811, which notifies the appropriate utility of the intent to dig. Professional line locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint. Once lines have been accurately marked and the waiting time has expired, digging can begin around the marked lines.
“We join the governor in strongly encouraging individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin digging,” said Kathy Quartermaine, damage prevention & education manager at Tennessee 811. “By having underground lines marked, homeowners are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected.”
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, necessitates a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting. There is no charge for the phone call or locating the utilities.
Visit or for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.

Published in The Messenger 4.27.11

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