The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), a division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), reminds all Colorado residents to always contact 811 at least three business days before any digging project.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a proclamation designating April 2018 as Dig Safely Month in Colorado, and a number of events are planned around the state to promote public safety and raise awareness for the damage prevention industry.
By dialing 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Colorado 811, the local one call center, 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.
Every nine minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811. Striking a single utility line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin after contacting 811.
"As April marks the traditional start of the digging season, we are using this month to strongly encourage individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin digging," said Joe Molloy, chief of the PUC's Gas Pipeline Safety section. "By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and professionals are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected."
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.
Colorado 811 encourages all residents to visit www.co811.org for more information about digging safely.