April marks the 10th annual National Safe Digging Month. Central Ohio Damage Prevention Council members and the Ohio Utilities Protection Service, now doing business as Ohio811, remind residents that before you reach for that shovel, first reach for your phone or mouse to notify 811 at least 48 hours before starting your digging project. This will ensure that buried utility lines around your project are marked.
We rely on Ohio’s complex underground infrastructure of pipelines, wires and cables to reliably and safely supply our homes and businesses with natural gas for heat, clean drinking water, electric and internet service. For instance, according to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, natural gas is distributed safely and reliably 99.9 percent of the time. But when an incident does occur, it is often due to a digging-related incident. These incidents may cause harm to you or those around you, cause significant service disruptions, and potentially result in fines and repair cost. However, you can reduce the chance of causing damage to an underground utility to less than 1 percent by notifying 811.
Notifying 811 is free, simple and required by Ohio law. Simply dial 811 or visit www.ohio811.org to provide the location of your digging project. Ohio811 will then notify the appropriate utility companies, who will send a professional locator to mark the buried utilities near your project. Once lines have been properly marked, roll up those sleeves and start digging, but please use extra caution when digging near the markings.
Every nine minutes an underground utility is damaged because someone decided to dig without first notifying 811. Don’t be a statistic! Help keep central Ohio a safe place to live, work, and play by notifying 811 before every digging project, including landscaping, building a deck or installing a mailbox. It’s the law.
For more information on how you can help prevent damage to underground utilities, please visit www.ohio811.org.