Area Utilities Remind Everyone April Is National Safe Digging Month

Wed 4-14-2021

(Spirit Lake)-- The month of April has been designated “National Safe Digging Month”. Brad Henningsen, Damage Prevention Coordinator with Black Hills Energy, says there are several things they want people to be aware of...Brad Henningsen01 

"The first one is to call or click before you dig, whether you're a homeowner planting a shrub, putting up a fence, or you're a contractor using a backhoe or skid steer. Always call before you dig, at least two full business days in advance to have all of your utility lines marked. You can call 811 toll free, you can schedule it online at Iowa One Call-dot-com, or download the Iowa 811 app. It's free, it's safe, and it's the law. Now after you call, utility specialists will respond within two days and mark your appropriate location of buried utility lines at your site. They'll use color-coded paint or flags and they'll do it all it at no charge to you. A couple of examples, yellow marks gas lines and red is an electrical line."

Henningsen says it's also a good idea to mark your planned excavation site ahead of time...Brad Henningsen02 

"So spray paint a white line or place white flags around your planned excavation site before you call. White lining helps the line locator understand your plans and reduces the chance for project delays."

Henningsen adds it's important to respect the location marks and not to rely on old ones...Brad Henningsen03 

"Just a nick in a gas line can create a weak spot that could develop into a gas leak. You could possibly run into an electrical line and cause and electrical outage or an internet outage, or result in an energy, and we absolutely positively do not want any injury. So once you get the marks on the ground, if you don't dig within 14 business days, contact Iowa 811 again. Again, at no charge, locators will gladly return to re-mark the lines as quickly as possible."

Henningsen says failure to comply with “call before you dig” laws can result in civil penalties and that you could be held responsible for the cost of repairs.