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Columbia Gas hopes the date on the calendar, Aug. 11 (8/11), will serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Every hour, more than six damages to buried utilities occur because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Kentucky 811, the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

“On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Dustin Hatton, Damage Prevention Leader for Columbia Gas of Kentucky, “It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area.”

The depth of utility lines can vary, Hatton says, for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces.

“Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists,” he said.

Although most utility companies, including Columbia Gas of Kentucky, are members of Kentucky 811, some are not. Those companies that are not members must be contacted directly for line markings. Kentucky 811 operators can provide callers with a list of utility companies in their area that are members of their organization and a list is provided on the organization’s web site at www.kentucky811.org.

For more information about utility line marking or to make a locate request, contact Kentucky811 at 811 or visit 811Now.com.

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