Call 811 Before You Dig Into Outdoor Projects

The recent warm weather has everyone thinking about outdoor projects. The last thing anyone wants when digging into these projects is to find a buried water, gas, electric or other line. That’s why now is a good time to remind people to call 811 before the start of any digging project.

The web site has a wide variety of promotional materials  and information to help you get the word out. We also have a poster you can print to help promote 811. You can also add a link on your website to the 811 video embedded at the bottom of this post to provide an overview of what happens when you call 811.

Dialing 811 connects callers to MISS DIG, a statewide, one-call center for construction safety and utility damage prevention. Once a request is received, MISS DIG contacts local utility companies according to the location where a caller plans to dig. Utilities will send representatives to mark the approximate location of underground lines with paint and/or staking flags within three working days. The service is both free and required under Michigan law. 

Please note that MISS DIG will mark lines that utilities own (the main line to the meter). The customer/property owner is responsible for maintenance and operation of all gas or electric lines that flow from the meter to all appliances. This includes gas and electric lines to your yard lights, grills, pool and spa heaters, garages, workshops or other similar areas. A mechanical contractor would be able to help you mark those lines. Customers who have an outdoor sprinkler system will also need to mark those lines.

Each year, hundreds of dig-in accidents are caused by careless digging which result in damage to utility lines, service interruptions, property damage, financial penalties and personal injuries. These projects can be as small as planting trees, installing a street mailbox post or building a deck.

Here are some safety tips to share with your neighbors and local businesses:

  • Call at least three working days before beginning to dig to have underground lines marked.
  • Avoid starting projects until you’re sure all lines are marked. Confirm that all lines have been marked by contacting MISS DIG.
  • When using shovels or power equipment, respect the marks and avoid using mechanized digging equipment near them. Choose another location on the property for a project if the original planned site is near utility line markings.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.