Dig safe by contacting Kentucky 811

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – April marks the 10th anniversary of National Safe Digging Month.

Kentucky Utilities Company and Louisville Gas and Electric Company are reminding area residents to have underground utility lines identified to avoid digging dangers.

The Federal Communication Commission’s designated call-before-you-dig number, 811, identifies buried lines that could be damaged as a result of excavation work.

Residents can dial 8-1-1 or visit 811now.com to complete the online form and request underground facility markings at a single address.

KU and LG&E say not only can digging without knowing the location of underground utilities result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged; it’s also illegal.

Kentucky law requires all excavators – whether a homeowner or contractor, and whether working on a small project such as installing a mailbox or a larger one like building a deck or laying a patio – to contact operators of underground utilities before performing any excavation work.

According to Common Ground Alliance, a national organization focused on protecting underground utilities across the country, an underground utility line is damaged every nine minutes because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811. In fact, nearly 40 percent of homeowners surveyed earlier this year on behalf of the organization admitted they will not call 811 before starting projects that require digging, even though doing so reduces the chance of causing damage by 99 percent.

How to use Kentucky 811:

  1. Start by planning ahead – Know what you plan to do, where you plan to do it and when you’d like to begin your dig.
  2. Contact Kentucky 811 by phone or online with 811Now.com – Submit locate requests at least two days before you plan to dig and provide the required information about your project. The Kentucky 811 phone service and 811Now.com can both be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  3. Wait the required time for marking – When you contact Kentucky 811, they coordinate with Kentucky 811 member utilities in your area, including KU and LG&E, to have underground utility lines marked. This work is performed at no cost to you. A “locate request” goes out to member utilities, including those who provide natural gas, electric, telephone, cable and water service. Crews either mark their underground facilities or notify the excavator they have no underground lines in the area.
  4. Respect the marks and dig with care – Markings are completed using paint or flags according to the standard color code system. If you have any questions, you should contact the appropriate utility directly.

KU is a Kentucky 811 member only in certain areas of its service territory. KU customers can visit the company website to see if they need to call 811 or KU directly based on their location.

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