CHARLESTON — National 811 Day was Sunday (Aug. 11 — 8/11, get it?) and the Public Service Commission of West Virginia noted it by urging everyone to “call before they dig” around their properties.

By law, residents and businesses are required to call West Virginia 811 at least 48 hours before they break ground on any job that involves digging. That law applies to individuals tackling home projects as well as contractors working on public or private property.

“Everyone needs to be aware of the importance of calling 811 before they dig,” said PSC Chairman Charlotte R. Lane. “Whether you are a homeowner or a professional contractor, always call 811 before you begin to dig. The 811 call is free, and it helps to protect you, your property and our underground utility infrastructure.”

 “Every time you dig, you run the risk of hitting an underground utility, even if you only dig a few inches,” Lane said. “Striking a natural gas pipeline, a wire or a cable can result in utility service outages, which can leave you liable for costly repairs or significant legal fines. Even worse, a line strike can cause serious personal injury or death.”

Lane pointed out that the depth and location of utility lines can move over time as the ground freezes and thaws, as tree roots grow or after a large amount of rain. “So, even if you have had an area marked previously, you still need to call 811 before you dig.”

Lane added, “After you call, the 811 team will notify the utility companies at no cost to the customer. Within 48 hours, each company will send locators to your project site to mark the locations of underground facilities with flags, stakes or paint. Once the buried facilities have been accurately marked, you or your contractor can begin digging safely. This protects you, your property and West Virginia’s underground utility infrastructure.”

For more information about West Virginia 811, visit www.wv811.com or www.psc.state.wv.us and click on the 811 link. o

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