April is Safe Digging MonthAmy
Call 8-1-1 Before You Dig!
The month of April marks National Safe Digging Month, reminding South Carolina residents to always call 811 before any digging project. In 2017, YCNGA facilities were damaged 309 times. In 60% of these incidents the root cause was the lack of utility locate tickets or failure of homeowners to dig safely around natural gas lines. According to Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a national association focused on protecting underground utilities, across the country, an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
Striking a natural gas pipeline can cause injury, significant repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small requires a call to SC811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, demolition, installing an irrigation system and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin after a call to 811.
“As spring is in the air, our thoughts turn to being outside and yard beautification. In doing so, we want to encourage all homeowners and project warriors to call 811 when planning their project. The call must be made at least 3 days prior to the start of your project,” said Deana Keever, Director of Operations for York County Natural Gas Authority. “It is a FREE call. By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines marked, homeowners and professionals are helping to ensure the safety of themselves and their communities.”
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to SC811, 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. Each type of utility has designated marking colors to clearly identify the type of underground facilities. The marking colors are:
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.
As part of National Safe Digging Month, York County Natural Gas encourages homeowners to take the following four steps and dig with care this spring:
Step 1 – Plan ahead – Always call SC811 at least three business days before digging, regardless of the familiarity with the property. Calling on or before Tuesday insures utilities will be marked for weekend yard work. Requests can also be made online at sc.811.com or through the SC811 mobile app.
Step 2 – Allow required time for marking – Utility companies have 3-working days to mark their facilities which does not include weekends or official state or Federal holidays.
Step 3 – Respect and protect the marks – Do not cover up or destroy the utility markings as they indicate the approximate location of underground utilities. Contact the utility if marks are destroyed.
Step 4 – Excavate carefully – Do not dig with mechanized equipment within 24 inches of either side of the utility markings – hand dig only. Once the utility line has been exposed protect the integrity of the facility while digging.
Safe Digging Contest
ENTER THE DOGGONE GOOD DIGGING CONTEST!
Take our Doggone Good Digging Contest Personality Poll to find out if you’re a Good Dog when it comes to digging… or a Bad Dog. You could WIN a Doggone Good Gardening Gift Pack that includes a durable Dump Cart Wheelbarrow, 12-piece gardening tool set and a $100 Wilson’s Nursery Gift Card!