May is Safe Digging Month

You hear the ads and see the signs that say "Call Before You Dig" ... but you figure since not a big construction company or not working near a highway, that doesn't apply to you. Especially if you're doing something simple, such as laying water ines for a sprinkler system, placing fencing posts, tying into a sewer system, or planting trees.

Right? Wrong.

Many developments have utility easements on private lots which allow them to place underground utility lines, especially near the perimeters of lots. If you dig without calling, you can put yourself in harm's way, or disrupt utility services for you and your neighbors.

If you call 811, the national Call Before You Dig toll-free number, that will put you in touch with the PUPS notification service, which notifies most utility companies in South Carolina. But since state law (unlike most states) does not require all utility companies to be part of this system. Therefore, you might have to make more than one call.

A helpful guide is to round up your utility bills before you call 811. Let them know where you're planning to dig, and they'll tell you which utilities they will notify, and if there are any leftover, call their office number.

South Carolina law requires that once you notify, utility companies have three days to respond. That means they either have to mark the location of underground lines with flags or spray paint, or notify you there are no underground utilities where you plan to dig.

One way to help them is to "white-line" the area where you plan to dig, so they will know exactly where to mark the ground. Ordinary spray paint will do just fine. The helpful color code to the markings (as shown to the right) will tell you what they found, so you'll know if a wrong move will blow up the block, knock out the neighborhood's phone and internt, or just wash out your front yard.

Here at the Blogland, we're all about a better South Carolina, and that includes one where everyone works together protect themselves and the utility services that provide for our quality of life. Please do your part by CALLING BEFORE YOU DIG.

4 Response to "May is Safe Digging Month"

  1. Mike Reino 2/5/08 11:32
    Have the Gophers been notified of this? If not, we might want to call Carl at Bushwood ...
  2. Anonymous 2/5/08 15:10
    Good advice. I once represented a contractor that cut one of MCI's major fiber optic lines along I-9. The bill was around 35 million dollars for lost income. Of course the end bill was much less and the possibilty of cutting that type of line is there however, who wants to argue that kind of bill?
  3. I did not do it Moye 5/5/08 17:54
    I cut a Fiber Optics line in Orlando while we were running gas lines for a power plant. A hell of a bill for sure. Had to let my General Foreman and Foreman go over it. Surely you do not expect me to take the blame.
  4. George Murphy 18/5/08 16:19
    Calling 811 is a great idea. You can also call a local underground utility company who can come out with GPR to mark the lines.
    Underground Utility Location

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