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Digging Without Proper Planning Can Result in Damage to Underground Utility Lines

Digging Without Proper Planning Can Result in Damage to Underground Utility Lines

Nov 19th 2019

The world of underground utilities is full of complexities. Many are not aware of how to safely dig on their property. Damage to underground utility lines is a nationwide problem Many digs without following protocol for line location and marking. These mistakes can easily happen on large road excavation projects or small yard sprinkler system installations. Before planting a tree or excavating any hole, it is important to Call 811, a free service to locate existing buried utilities.

The vast infrastructure of underground cables electric lines, gas pipes, water services, and sewage drains may locate where you propose to dig. Striking one of these lines may only lead to interrupted service, if lucky, but it also may severely injure yourself or love ones. Why take the chance?

Locating underground utilities is difficult to do without proper professional assistance. While private lines are generally the responsibility of the landowner, the public utility shares the responsibility with the property owner. Under the mandate, utility companies assist the property owner by locating and marking all utilities for safe digging.

The American Public Works Association provides Uniform Color Codes for temporary marking underground utility lines. Each type of utility is marked using paint, chalk, flags, or stakes that are color-coded to indicate the route and location. There are eight color codes to differentiate between each type of line — for example, yellow for gas, blue for water, or red for electricity. This universal system helps anyone working near underground utilities avoid accidents.

PLCS, an underground utility product supplier, suggests calling 811 and choose a professional to assist with project planning, permits, and locating underground utility lines, which keeps us all safe and out of harm's way.