HALLOWELL, Maine — In observance of National Safe Digging Month in April, as proclaimed by Gov. Janet Mills, the Maine Public Utilities Commission reminds Mainers of the dangers of digging without knowing the location of underground utilities.
Maine law requires anyone, even homeowners, who is using power tools to dig into the ground to call Dig Safe.
“Accidentally digging into buried utility lines can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged,” said Chairman Philip L. Bartlett II. “Making a free call to 811 before digging will help homeowners maintain essential utility service at a time when we need them most and help keep communities safe.”
According to a recent survey conducted by the Common Ground Alliance, the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, one in five American homeowners is more likely to do a DIY home improvement involving digging since the pandemic began – with 37 percent putting themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 811.
As part of National Safe Digging Month, the Commission encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:
- Always call 811 at least three days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
- Confirm that all lines have been marked.
- Respect all marks and consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
- If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
- Visit www.digsafe.com for more information.
- Dig with caution.
Everyone who calls 811 before digging is connected to a local one call notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.