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April is National Safe Digging Month – Call 811 Before All Digging Projects, Large or Small

Posted on April 1, 2022


Person digging hole - April is Safe Digging Month

With spring months upon us, many people will take advantage of the warmer weather to do work around their home that involves digging. Whether it’s planting a tree or shrub, gardening or landscaping, or repairing or replacing a fence that was damaged during the winter months, customers should call 811 two business days before digging to avoid damaging underground utility lines.

Underground utility lines can be shallow, sometimes only a few inches below the surface, due to erosion, previous digging projects, shifting or settling of the ground and uneven surfaces. And damaging an underground utility line is dangerous and can leave customers responsible for repair costs averaging $3,500 and up. Calling 811 is free and easy, and professional utility workers will respond within two business days to mark the location of underground utility lines for your project site.

Calling 811 is Fast and Free

  • Customers should call 811 a minimum of two business days before beginning any project that involves digging, no matter how large or small. Customers can also visit 811express.com to have underground utility lines marked for their project site.
  • Professional utility workers for all utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer and telecommunications) will be dispatched to mark the location of all underground utility lines for the project site with flags, spray paint, or both
  • The 811 call center serving Central and Northern California, USA North, is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will provide Spanish and other translation services.

PG&E safe digging tips

  • Mark project area in white: Identify the digging location by drawing a box around the area using white paint, white stakes, white flags, white chalk or even white baking flour.
  • Call 811 or submit an online request a minimum of two working days before digging: Be prepared to provide the address and general location of the project, project start date and type of digging activity. PG&E and other utilities will identify underground facilities in the area for free. Requests can be submitted a maximum of 14 days prior to the start of the project.
  • Dig safely: Use hand tools when digging within 24 inches of the outside edge of underground lines. Leave utility flags, stakes or paint marks in place until the project is finished. Backfill and compact the soil.
  • Be aware of signs of a natural gas leak: Smell for a “rotten egg” odor, listen for hissing, whistling or roaring sounds and look for dirt spraying into the air, bubbling in a pond or creek and dead/dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.
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