In observance of National Safe Digging Month, CenterPoint Energy encourages customers to keep safety top of mind when planning for digging projects.
Projects such as installing a garden, a pool, a fence or a water sprinkler system require digging and the need for customers to call 811.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injury or death, inconvenient service disruptions and costly fines and repairs. Hitting underground natural gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines while digging can have a major impact on communities and businesses.
Making a free request before digging at 811beforeyoudig.com or by calling 811 can help maintain the safety of everyone who digs as well as the essential utility services in their communities.
“It is essential that anyone who plans to dig, regardless of how shallow the project might be, contact 811 beforehand to have buried utilities marked to allow for safe digging,” said Shane Alexander, director of damage prevention for CenterPoint Energy. “Callers should contact 811 a few days prior to the start of their digging project to give surveyors enough time to reach the site and mark the area.”
In addition to working on projects themselves, homeowners often hire a contractor to complete digging projects on their property. If a contractor is completing the project, it is recommended the homeowner ensure the area has been marked prior to the start of the project. The homeowner is advised to let the contractor know work cannot begin until the area has been marked. Either the homeowner or contractor should place a request online or call 811.
Privately owned lines are not located by the utility. If the property owner has privately owned lines servicing a sprinkler system or outdoor appliance, the property owner is responsible for ensuring these lines are marked.
CenterPoint Energy encourages everyone to take the following steps when planning a digging project:
-Always contact 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
-Plan ahead. Make a free 811 request on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
-Confirm that all lines have been marked.
-Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
-If a contractor has been hired, confirm the contractor has contacted 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
-Visit 811beforeyoudig.com for complete information.
Those calling 811 are connected to a local 811 center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.
In the case of a hit pipeline, leave the area immediately. Once in a safe location, report the leak by calling the CenterPoint Energy utility emergency line at 800-227-1376.
Additional information about pipeline safety can be found at centerpointenergy.com/callbeforeyoudig.