Verizon Says 8-11 Is Good Reminder to Call 811 Before You Dig

Aug. 11 - or 8-11 - provides a natural reminder to call 811 to have underground utility lines marked before starting any project that involves digging.

When calling 811, callers are connected to their local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate location of underground lines.

"Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811," said Diane McCarthy, senior vice president of global network field operations at Verizon. "Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Whether you're a do-it-yourselfer or a professional excavator, it's important to call 811 to have utility lines properly marked in advance of digging."

The nationwide 811 call-before-dig number was established in 2005 by the Federal Communications Commission to help prevent the unintentional strike of underground utility lines while digging.

"On August 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line," said Bob Kipp, president of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a member-driven association of nearly 1,400 individuals, organizations and sponsors that are committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices.

"Failure to call before digging results in tens of thousands of unintentional hits annually, and we do not want anyone's project to become part of the statistic," Kipp said.   

Verizon's McCarthy is a board member of the CGA.

Verizon promotes awareness of safe digging by distributing hats, gloves and other promotional items with the 811 logo. The items are given to the company's field operations personnel who have cable locating, maintenance and emergency repair responsibilities; outside plant engineering personnel who are responsible for construction, protection, relocation and permanent restoration activities; as well as excavators, locators, municipal employees and right-of-way providers with whom Verizon works. In addition, the company is outfitting its fleet vehicles with 811 bumper stickers.

Failure to call 811 contributed to an estimated 75,000 underground utility damages in 2008, according to industry data compiled by the CGA.

Verizon encourages taking the following steps when planning a digging project:

  • Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
  • Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for lines to be marked.
  • Confirm with your local one-call center that all lines have been marked. 
  • Visit www.call811.com/faqs to learn what the various colors of paint and flags represent.
  • Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
  • If another location is not viable, respect the marks and avoid using mechanized digging equipment near them.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don't allow work to begin if the lines aren't marked.

For more information about 811, click here.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 92 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.