Georgia 811 recognizes that many people will be planting trees for Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 30) projects, so it is important to remember to contact 811 at least three business days before digging to have underground utility lines marked.
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Before any type of digging project, Georgia 811 advises the public to contact 811 by phone or online at Georgia811.com to have their public utility lines marked for free. The best way to avoid damaging your utilities and risking injury or loss of service is to contact 811 at least three days before digging to learn the approximate location of buried lines in your area.
After receiving a call or online request, Georgia 811 notifies the appropriate member utility companies. Professional locators are sent to the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint. Once lines have been properly marked, the utility companies respond in the ticketing system, and the digger can check that all utility companies in the area have marked their lines. While diggers should plant trees and saplings away from the marked lines, the Georgia Dig Law specifically directs users of mechanized equipment to stay at least 18 inches away from the outer edge of each side of a buried pipe or line. Professional contractors will usually hand dig around a marked line to discover the true outer edge of underground facilities.
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surface. Underground utility lines are too often damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811.
“With the possibility of utility lines only a few inches from the surface, this simple call to 811 will help volunteers, contractors and do-it-yourself diggers avoid striking an underground utility line,” said Megan Estes, corporate communications director with Georgia 811.
Visit www.Georgia811.com for more information about Georgia 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.