California Public Utilities Commission
CPUC Supports National Safe Digging Month; Reminds Californians To Call 811 Before Digging

April 20, 2017

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in support of April as the National Safe Digging Month, reminded Californians to call 811 prior to any digging project in order to have underground utility lines marked. Annually, the simple failure to call before excavating results in more than hundreds of thousands of unintentional hits to underground utility facilities.

Every year the month of April is designated as National Safe Digging Month, the time of year when industry stakeholders come together to communicate how important it is that professionals and homeowners alike call 811 and follow the safe digging process to help prevent injuries, property damage, and outages. The CPUC also reminds residents within master-metered mobilehome parks to notify park management several business days before the resident, or a contractor working on behalf of the resident, begins performing any intended excavation activities.

It is important that people doing work or projects that require digging into the ground - from those making small holes for lawn and garden projects to contractors digging up pavement - call 811 to know what's below before they begin digging in order to reduce the risk of damaging an underground utility line and injuring themselves, their families, or neighbors.

When calling 811, professionals and homeowners are connected to their local one-call center, which notifies its member utility companies of the intent to dig. Within two business days (not including weekends and holidays) utilities will locate and mark, using flags or spray paint, the approximate location of their facilities that are within the work area designated by the excavator; otherwise, the utilities will provide notification that they have no facilities in the designated area. In the case of master-metered mobilehome parks, park management needs to provide the location of master-metered subsurface facilities once notified by a resident or a contractor working on behalf of the resident. 

Striking a single subsurface facility can result in inconvenient outages, significant injuries, or damages to the excavator and the nearby public, as well as fines. Anyone excavating should always exercise care even when using only hand tools to dig in the proximity of marked facilities. Every excavation project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck, and laying a patio are all examples of excavation projects for which 811 should be called well before starting the project. In the case of master-metered mobilehome parks, residents should call 811, and also notify park management, before excavating within the park.

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 the risk of striking an underground utility line exists even when digging only a few inches below the surface. Marks provided by utilities do not provide depth of facilities, nor should anyone ever assume the depth of underground facilities.

California's requirements related to excavation notifications are contained in Government Code Section 4216.

Visit www.call811.com for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.

For more information:

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California
United States, 94102

Terrie Prosper, Director–News & Public Information
California Public Utilities Commission
Tel: 415.703.1366
E-mail: news@cpuc.ca.gov

Link http://www.electricenergyonline.com/detail_news.php?ID=633186
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