CGA Study: 48% Of Homeowners Forgo Calling 811

May 2013, Vol. 240, No. 5

A survey by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) found 48% of homeowners who plan to dig this year for projects that include landscaping, installing a fence or mailbox or building a deck, pond or patio, will put themselves and communities at risk by not calling 811 to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.

There are more than 100 billion feet of underground utilities in the U.S., according to data compiled by CGA. Those calling 811 before digging are connected to a local one-call notification center that will take information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

Among survey respondents who plan to dig but don’t plan to call, 56% said they felt they already knew where utilities were buried on their property and 49% did not think they would dig deep enough to come in contact with utility line despite the fact that utilities can sometimes be just a few inches below the surface due to erosion and other topography changes.

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