CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Do you know what Monday is? It’s Aug. 11, but for the folks at the utility companies it’s also 811 or Call Before You Dig Day.
Tom Taylor, the executive director of 811, said whether it’s a professional or just a homeowner, there’s always the need to call 811 to find out if it’s safe to dig.
“If you’re out there to dig a hole to plant a tree, a mailbox, a post, a fence line, you don’t know what’s in the ground. It could be a gas line, an electric line, a water line, a telephone line,” explained Taylor.
Digging is dangerous if people don’t know what’s underneath that shovel.
“It happens every day, that’s the problem. It happens every day around the nation and sometimes there are injuries and fatalities involved,” said Taylor. “That’s what we’re trying to prevent.”
So how deep is too deep to dig on your own? Taylor said, in some cases, telephone lines can be as close as one inch below the surface. As for old gas lines, erosion can take a pipe that was once buried 40 inches deep and bring it to just a couple inches below the grass line.
“I think anything beyond just a couple inches, like planting flowers, qualifies for someone to call before they dig,” according to Taylor.
“It’s a free call. It’s a free service. The utilities come out and they locate their lines. They paint the ground with the proper colors and you know where the lines are before you start digging.”
As part of the campaign, Taylor said they’re sponsoring 811 Day at Appalachian Power Park Monday evening. Free t-shirts will be given away and some experts will be on hand to answer questions about digging.