National 811 Day Reminder: Call Before You Dig


An underground utility line is damaged every six minutes in the US because someone failed to call 811 - the national "Call Before You Dig" phone number - or connect online at before digging, according to Common Ground Alliance, which since 2007 has promoted the 811 number and

Each year, August 11, or 811, serves as a reminder to the public to call 8-1-1 before starting an outdoor digging project. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone made a decision to dig without first calling 811.

The utility companies will each send a professional locator to the digging site to identify and mark the approximate location of the underground lines. "Not only is it a free call and service, it is also the law".

-Allow the required time for marking: Before digging, customers are urged to call 8-1-1, and wait the required time to have underground utility lines marked. "We are pleased to see progress in building public awareness of MISS DIG 8-1-1, and we want to help people avoid underground pipelines".

When you dig, you run the risk of hitting an underground utility, even if you are only digging a few inches. "Calling 811 before you dig is the law". Even worse, a line strike can cause serious personal injury or even death.

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Striking a single line can cause injury, fix costs, fines and inconvenient outages. If the damage results in a risky situation, call 9-1-1.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. A quick phone call to 811 at least two days before digging connects callers to an operator at a local One Call Center who will provide information on when participating utilities must clearly mark their underground equipment.

According to the Common Ground Alliance, there are more than 100 billion feet of underground utilities in the United States, equating to more than one football field's length of buried utilities for every person in the country.

Once lines have been marked, you should respect the marks and dig carefully around them.

Additional information, including a damage prevention booklet on safe excavating practices and the protection of underground facilities, can be found online at