CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, joined by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, issued a proclamation today announcing April as Safe Digging Month in the state, and encourages citizens to call "811" before starting a digging project.
"From outdoor home improvement projects to large scale construction, this month marks the traditional start of digging season and protecting yourself and your communities is as simple as picking up the phone," Gov. Tomblin said. "By calling 811, homeowners and professionals are making an important safety decision."
A utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide and one-third of these accidents are caused by failure of the professional excavator or homeowner to contact "811" before beginning their project. Striking a single pipeline, wire or cable can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to WV 811, from installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree.
"We join Governor Tomblin in strongly encouraging individuals and companies to call West Virginia 811 before they begin their spring digging projects," said Public Service Commission Chairman Michael Albert. "By having underground lines marked, homeowners are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected."
When calling "811," homeowners and contractors are connected to WV 811, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and paint. Once lines have been accurately marked, digging can begin.
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.
To know what's below, call "811" or 800-245-4848. More information is available at www.psc.state.wv.us
Amy Shuler Goodwin or Martina Johnson
304-558-4977 or 304-340-0836