Residents are urged to call Miss Utility before digging.
We've heard the public service announcements on the radio which remind us to call Miss Utility before digging so as not to damage utility lines. The announcement also says "it's the law!"
Now the message will be emphasized even more. The Governor has declare April to be "Maryland Safe Digging Month," and is urging Marylanders to call Miss Utility at 811 before doing any digging.
This not only includes large projects like houses, but even the planting of vegetable or flower gardens. "A lot of homeowners are not aware that calling Miss Utility is something they should do before they begin to excavate," says Scott Brown, the chairman of Miss Utility's Maryland Subscribers Committee.
The Common Ground Alliance says that an underground utility line is damaged by digging every three-minutes in the US, and one-third of these incidents could have been avoided by calling 811, toll free. The organization also says a recent national survey found that 45% of respondents don't plan to call Miss Utility before they dig so they could learn where the lines and pipes are buried and avoid them. In addition, with 100-billion feet of buried utility lines in the US, 67% of homeowners say they don't think they would interrupt critical utility services if they dig without knowing where the lines are located.
Brown says any property owner or excavator who digs and damages an electric or telecommunications line, or a water and sewer pipe, is liable for the cost of repairs. But, he says, the message from "Maryland Safe Digging Month" to remind people to call before digging so there are no injuries, damage to utility lines and pipes, and interruptions of services. "We would much prefer they call first, and then didn't hit that line," he says. "It's the safety and personal injury that we're really trying to avoid, not the cost."
A property owner or excavator is asked to call Miss Utility at least two business days before digging. After that, representatives of local utilities and public works departments will come on site and mark off the locations of lines and pipes. Miss Utility also says plan ahead for a weekend dig by calling on Monday or Tuesday, and confirm with your local call center that the lines have been marked. Also, learn what the various colors of paint and flags represent by going on line to www.call811.com/faqs. Consider moving the location of your project if it's too near utility line markings. And if you hire a contractor, confirm that with a call to 811. Don't allow the work to begin if the lines not marked.