April is National Safe Digging Month
April is National Safe Digging Month and Pepco reminds its customers and all contractors to call 811 to have utility-owned underground lines marked before digging. Nationwide, there were nearly 350,000 incidents of damage to an underground utility line because of digging without first calling 811, according to the Common Ground Alliance, the national association that promotes the 811 phone number and safe digging practices.
Striking an underground electric or natural gas pipe can cause serious injury, damages and service interruptions. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects where a call to 811 should be one of the first steps.
Pepco manages nearly 7,397 circuit miles of underground electric lines, many of which may cross through residential properties. Properly locating these lines is essential to safely completing a digging job. In addition to Pepco’s lines, there are underground communications cables, water and sewer lines, and other utilities. Even properties that are not served by a particular service may still have utility lines running below ground.
One free call to 811 connects you to Miss Utility, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the locations of underground lines with flags, stakes and/or spray paint. Residents and contractors should call 811 at least three days in advance of starting a project.
Once lines are located, customers and excavators must understand the markings and look for evidence of unmarked lines, such as water and sewer lines on private property. Sewer clean-outs and water valve covers are examples of equipment that can indicate the presence of underground lines.
Pepco joins the Exelon family of utilities in marking National Safe Digging Month, and is a member of the Common Ground Alliance to share best practices to promote safe excavation and lower instances of damage to underground lines.
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