Avoid a disaster: Call 811 and know what's below

If you are planning a project that involves digging, trenching, drilling or grading, state law requires you to call 811 at least three days before digging. This is a free service and there are penalties if you dig and hit a line, but did not call. Although accidents are relatively rare damage from digging is the most common cause of underground natural gas leaks.

Three steps you must follow before you dig:

  1. Call 811 before you dig. 811 is the national phone number that initiates the process of locating and marking the underground utility lines in your yard or at your job. Dial 811 at least three business days before you dig.
  2. Wait the required time for facilities to be marked. Call center personnel notify area utilities such as Alliant Energy to mark the approximate locations of buried gas or electric lines with high-visibility safety paint and/or flags. Yellow paint markings or flags identify the location of buried natural gas pipelines. Red paint markings or flags identify the location of buried electric lines.

    Locators will not mark privately owned fuel lines, like those running to a garage, pool or fireplace.
  3. Respect the marks, then dig with care. When you start digging, try to stay as least 18 inches away from the marked lines. Hand digging with extreme caution is required when digging within the 18-inch tolerance zone.

For more information on 811, visit the national 811 website or contact your state’s local center.

Dialing 811 works from any location. For state-specific numbers call:

Iowa: Iowa One Call
1-800-292-8989
iowaonecall.com

Wisconsin: Diggers Hotline
1-800-242-8511
diggershotline.com

Illinois: JULIE
1-800-892-0123
Illinois1call.com

Most electric accidents can be prevented.

All it takes is remembering the basic safety rules and knowing how to spot potential hazards.

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