COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — With the arrival of warmer weather, homeowners and construction crews will be anxious to get outside and begin new projects, which is why April has been coined as National Safe Digging Month.
Black Hills Energy is encouraging everyone to call 811 before digging. Every six minutes an underground utility line is hit because 811 wasn’t called first.
The service is free to everyone. When you call, all underground utility services will visit the location you plan to dig within 48 hours of the request to mark the lines and keep you safe.
Damages to lines can cause serious injuries or death, disrupt service to entire neighborhoods, and potentially result in fines and repair costs in the tens of thousands.
“There’s our lines, electric lines, cable TV lines, all sorts of other things in the ground where if you were to hit it, it could be dangerous,” Black Hills Energy Utility Construction Planner Chris Dewey said.
Dewey says the size of the hole doesn’t matter. If you’re going to dig, give the number a call.
“You never know. There's easements behind properties, lines that come in from the back, the front. Even if you are going to do something as simple as maybe planting some trees this spring or tilling up your garden or anything like that, it’s always good to call,” Dewey said. “It’s free, we will come out and mark all the lines and then you’ll know what’s there and be able to keep yourself safe.”
Similarly, Black Hills Energy says if you see a neighbor digging without the area being flagged, have the courage to ask.
You could be saving their life and preventing a line from putting the community at risk.
In addition to calling, you can also make a request online and learn more information. Nebraska and Iowa have their own sites.