- Department of Public Utilities
Media Contact for Department of Public Utilities Joins National Campaign to Raise Awareness of Safe Digging Practices
Troy Wall, Communications Director
BOSTON — In recognition of April as Dig Safe Awareness Month, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is joining with other states and utility companies around the country to remind excavators, contractors, and residents to dig safely and call 811 before starting any outdoor digging projects. 811 is the line for “Dig Safe,” which is a nonprofit organization that notifies gas, electric, telephone, and cable companies about the intended digging project. At no cost to the excavator, professional locators visit the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground utility lines with flags, spray paint, or both.
“Utility lines are buried in the ground all around us on both public and private property, and sometimes these lines are only a few inches below the surface,” said Department of Public Utilities Chair Matthew Nelson. “Calling 811 is the best way to ensure a line won’t be hit when commencing a new project this year.”
State law requires calling 811 at least three days before digging is to start. Accidently striking an underground utility line can result in serious personal injury, property damage, and costly service disruptions for many. Additionally, failure to follow the provisions of the law and regulations can result in fines.
Excavations are the leading cause of damage to underground utility infrastructure. In 2021, there were 925 excavation-related damages to utility infrastructure in Massachusetts. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Examples of digging projects that require a call to 811 include installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck, installing a pool, and planting trees and shrubs.