Safety First. Dig Second.Big or small, always contact 811 before you dig. Colorado 811Minnesota 811
Always call before you dig.
Call 811 at least three business days before you plan to dig. 811 will route you to the correct state call center. The utilities will locate their buried lines for free. If you have a line that you’ve installed on your own, like for a gas grill or electricity in a shed or garage, you are responsible to have those located prior to digging. If you have these types of customer-installed lines, you’re responsible for marking and maintaining them. Third party contractors, such as plumbing and heating contractors, can assist in locating, inspecting, and repairing the customer’s buried piping.
It’s the law.
Any time you plan to dig in the yard, it is the law for you to call 811 for utilities to locate their lines before you dig. It’s important to remember that this is the law.
Dig mistakes can be big mistakes.
Failure to call for line locations could result in damages to underground utility systems (electric, natural gas and telecom), expensive fines to the property owner, and could cause bodily harm or death, so call 811 now and avoid 911 later.
Depth can be deceptive.
The depth of utility lines will NEVER be indicated. And, depth changes over time, with erosion, storms, floods, soil condition, heaving in winter from frost, changes to landscape ALL of these can change (considerably) the depth of any given utility. Cable companies are notorious for burying their lines VERY shallow.
Smell gas, get away fast.
If you cause damage to a natural gas line, and notice a sulfur or rotten egg-like smell, the first thing to do is quickly move away from the area, and get others away. Do not use anything that could create a spark (e.g. lighter, matches, light switch, garage door openers, ignition switch and even a cell phone). Once safely away, call 911 AND either Xcel Energy or CenterPoint Energy so they can shut of the gas and fix the line.
Many people still don’t consider it dangerous to dig in their yard without having buried lines located. But hitting a gas or electric line, even with a shovel, can be seriously bad news. Damaging or striking a single utility line can create a dangerous situation, resulting in injury, loss of services, significant repair costs, fines or even death. Excavators or contractors who do not call 811 before digging and hit an underground line could be held liable for any associated damages.
Since 2018, Xcel Energy with Colorado 811 in Colorado, and both CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy in Minnesota have come together in partnership to pool resources and encourage everyone to contact 811 to have underground utility lines marked before starting any digging projects.
Calling 811 ahead of digging to locate buried lines should be everybody’s habit and together we continue our efforts for universal awareness and compliance with 811 line marking practices.