- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Department of Public Utilities Joins National Campaign to Raise Awareness of Safe Digging Practices
Boston — August 10, 2016 – In recognition of National 811 Day tomorrow, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities is joining with utility companies in reminding Massachusetts homeowners and contractors not to “dig blind” and to call 8-1-1 to have underground utility lines marked before starting any outdoor digging project.
Calling 811 connects homeowners and contractors 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 dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.
Accidently striking an underground line can cause serious injury and costly service disruptions. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, installing a pool, building a deck and planting a tree are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.
“Contacting 811 before a digging project is the most simple and effective way to prevent accidents,” said Department of Public Utilities Chairwoman Angie O’Connor. “The call is not only simple and free, it's the law.”
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 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.