CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Governor Jim Justice has issued a proclamation declaring April as Safe Digging Month. Governor Justice and the Public Service Commission of West Virginia encourage all West Virginians to call 811 at least two full work days before beginning a digging project.
Calling 811 before you dig is not just a good idea, it is the law. The West Virginia Legislature recently passed legislation imposing civil penalties for failure to notify the one-call system when required.
“In spring, everybody wants to go outside to enjoy the warm weather and get started on their outdoor projects,” said Governor Justice. “Just remember to call 811 before you start digging so the utility companies can mark underground utility lines. That will keep you and your home safe and prevent utility service interruptions. Whether you are starting a garden, building a deck or just putting up a new mailbox, every digging project needs to start with a call to 811.”
811 is a free utility line location service that protects you and your neighbors’ safety and the integrity of underground utility lines. Calling 811 connects you with a local notification center that forwards your information to utility companies with facilities in your area. Professional locators will visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground lines with spray paint or flags of various colors marking the different utilities. If a contractor is doing the work, confirm that a call to 811 has been made.
Call 811 at least two full work days before you dig. If you hit a buried utility line, especially gas, call 911 immediately. Do not assume you know where the lines are located. Utility lines, including water, sewer, electric, communication lines and gas pipelines may be just a few inches below the surface due to erosion, the freezing and thawing cycle and other topographical changes. Digging without knowing the location of underground utilities can cause service disruption, expensive repairs, serious injury and even death. After the marking has been done you can begin your project with confidence.