Did you know that excavation projects damage an underground utility line every three minutes in the U.S.?
With Aug. 11 almost here, National Grid hopes this date on the calendar, 8/11, will serve as a natural reminder for anyone planning a project that includes digging, boring, trenching or excavating to call 811 to have underground utility lines marked prior to any digging project. In the U.S. during 2011 alone, National Grid recorded more than 1,500 instances of damage to underground equipment by third parties. These "dig-ins" are the leading cause of natural gas leaks.
This year National Grid and nearly 50 other pipeline companies are joining to present a nationwide "811 Day" advertising campaign. Network radio and television ads are scheduled to run on Saturday, Aug. 11 during the 2012 Summer Olympics.
"What may appear to be a simple job can jeopardize public safety if you don't plan ahead and make a call to 811," said Karen I. Klimas, National Grid's vice president of Safety, Health and Environment. "A single phone call can potentially avert a tragedy. We're hoping this campaign will bring home the importance of that 811 call."
Home improvement jobs, such as planting a tree or digging a hole for a fence post or deck footing, can damage underground utility equipment, which might be a few feet underground. The ads remind the public that a quick phone call to 811 several 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. The call and the service are free of charge.
State laws mandate that 811 be called several days in advance of beginning projects that require excavation. Failure to call 811 may be punishable by fines, which in some states can be as high as $1,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for subsequent offenses. But even more important, calling 811 is the right thing to do because it helps keep everyone safe by preventing potentially deadly contact with underground electricity and gas lines.