For Immediate Release - August 10, 2012

Governor Patrick Proclaims August 11 "811 Day"

Encourages people to call 811 before digging to avoid hitting underground utility lines

Boston, MA (August 10, 2012) – Governor Deval Patrick issued a proclamation designating Saturday, August 11, 2012  as “811 DAY” in Massachusetts to serve as a reminder for residents to call 811 to have underground utility lines marked before starting any digging project. This comes on the heels of a recent national report by the Common Ground Alliance, which determined that an underground utility line is damaged during digging projects every three minutes.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Dig Safe, Inc., the local one-call center, which notifies gas, electric, telephone and cable companies of the intended digging project.   At no cost to the homeowner or contractor, professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

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 Massachusetts, calling 811 at least three days before beginning an excavation is required by state law and regulations.  Failure to follow the provisions of the law and regulations can result in fines of up to $10,000.  The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities enforces the law and regulations.

“On August 11th and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors to call 811 before digging,” said Ann Berwick, Chair of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. “It really is the only way to know which utility lines are buried in your area.”    

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 www.call811.com or www.digsafe.com for more information about 811 and safe digging practices. 

The proclamation can be found here: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituentservices/recognition/issuedproclamations/2012809-safe-digging-day.html

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