April is National
Safe Digging Month and NIPSCO is urging residents and businesses to help
protect the public from serious risk or injury by calling 811--two
business days before starting any digging project--to have underground
utility lines marked.
Not calling not
only puts lives at risk, it could also result in fines of $10,000 or more
and make you liable for damages.
Calling 811 is the
“The highest safety
risk to underground natural gas utilities across the county, and in Indiana,
continues to be damage caused by those who dig into a line without calling
first for the underground lines to be marked,” NIPSCO said in a statement
released on Tuesday.
In 2013, there were
approximately 400 cases of system damage caused when no markings were
requested across NIPSCO’s service area, the company noted. Nearly 60 percent
of those were caused by contractors, while the remaining cases were caused
by residents. The most common digging projects where damage occurred
involved fences, landscaping, and water and sewer projects. Planting shrubs
and trees and installing decks and pools are also common digging projects.
toll-free call to 811 before digging can mean the difference between saving
a life and causing serious injury or worse,” said Doug Dale, executive
director overseeing damage prevention and pipeline safety. “That’s why it’s
important to have your underground utility lines marked regardless of the
size of the project or who is doing the digging work.”
Once a call is
made, a professional utility line locator will visit the dig site to mark
the approximate location of underground utility lines with paint or flags.
After the site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging
carefully around the marked areas. It is important to not disturb or move
the markings or flags prior to digging.
NIPSCO and Indiana
811 offer the following recommendations for a busy digging season:
WHO: From homeowner
to business, everyone is required to call 811 before digging.
WHAT: One call to
811 gets your utility lines marked free of charge. Tell the operator where
you’re planning to dig and what type of work you’ll be doing. Locating crews
will arrive within two business days to mark all utility-owned underground
lines, pipes and cables.
planting a tree or garden, installing a fence or building a deck, every
digging project, no matter how large or small, requires a call to 811 two
business days before you dig.
WHERE: In a yard or
on a worksite, it’s important to know what’s below before you dig.
WHY: It’s the law
and it helps you and your neighbors avoid injuries, property damage and
or Indiana811.org for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig