April is National Safe Digging Month

From the Lake Apopka Natural Gas District

Every six minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because a homeowner started a digging project without calling 811. Installing a mailbox, building a fence or planting a garden all seem like simple do-it-yourself projects, but the risk of striking a utility line is high when residents don’t call 811 before starting those projects.

April is National Safe Digging Month, and Lake Apopka Natural Gas District is encouraging Apopka residents to call 811 to have underground utility lines in their yard marked before they begin digging—even for a simple landscaping project.

Here are five facts and tips to make sure you know what to do when digging:

  1. Florida residents should call 811 at least two full business days before any digging project. So, for Saturday projects,  call by Tuesday or Wednesday.
  2. When residents call 811, professional technicians from a utility company will come to the dig site and mark the location of underground lines with flags or paint.
  3. Always treat the flags and paint marks as approximate, and be sure to leave a tolerance zone of 24 inches from the outer edges of a buried line.
  4. The locator marks must always remain visible. Never place dump piles or building materials over marks, and call 811 again if the marks become faded.
  5. Do not use mechanized equipment near the utility lines. The safest thing to do is manually dig to expose the utility line and avoid damaging it.

Tips like these can help you prevent damage, injuries, lengthy outages and unnecessary fines.

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