STATE

ICC reminds Illinois residents to always call 811 before digging

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois Commerce Commission put out a reminder today for Illinois residents to  always  call before you dig, and suggested that August 11, or 8/11 can serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 to have underground utility lines marked prior to any digging project.

The Commission’s message comes on the heels of a recent report by Common Ground Alliance, which found that an underground utility line is damaged during digging projects once every three minutes nationwide.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to J.U.L.I.E., Inc., (Digger within the city of Chicago) the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig.

Professional locators will be sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Anyone planning to dig during the weekend should call 811 at least 2 working days before the planned project start date. For example, for a project during the weekend of August 14-15, the 811 call should be made by the end of the business day on August 11.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. 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 that need a call to 811 before starting.

In Illinois, state law requires that prior to any excavation, J.U.L.I.E or Digger be contacted so that underground utilities can be marked.  Failure to do so can result in up to a $5,000 fine.  More importantly, death, serious injury, or extensive property damage can result from damaging an underground gas, electric, water, sewer or telecommunications facility.  Nationally, failure to call before digging results in more than 60,000 unintentional hits annually, and we do not want anyone’s project to become part of the statistic.   

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, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

Visit our site at www.call811.com or www.illinois1call.com for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.