Illinois American Water is reminding Illinois residents to contact 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Every few minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811.
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the local 811 center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators then arrive at the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. Location marking includes locates for critical water system infrastructure as well as other utilities.
Beth Matthews, Vice President of Operations for Illinois American Water, said, “Calling 811 is really the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you can dig safely. It helps to protect not only critical infrastructure, but also residents and neighborhoods.”
She added, “Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages and fines. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants contacting 811 by phone or online. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are just some examples of digging projects that require a free 811 request at least a few days before breaking ground.”
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches or digging in a location that’s previously been marked, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.
Visit www.811beforeyoudig.com for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.
Visit www.illinoisamwater.com for more information about Illinois American Water.