GRIMES, Iowa – April 11, 2018 — April is National Safe Digging Month, and Black Hills Energy is providing four tips for safe digging to emphasize what is always the utility’s top priority: public and employee safety.
- Whether you’re a homeowner planting a shrub or a contractor using a backhoe, always Call Before You Dig by dialing 811 toll-free. Utility specialists will mark the approximate location of all buried utility lines at your site with color-coded paint or flags – at no charge to you. Yellow, for example, marks natural gas lines. In Iowa, Call Before You Dig by calling Iowa One-Call two or more working days before you plan to dig. Call 811 or schedule online at www.iowaonecall.com. If multiple contractors will be digging, each must contact Iowa One-Call. Whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor, it’s free, it’s safe and it’s the law.
- Spray paint a white line around your planned excavation site. “White-lining” helps the line locator understand your plans and reduces the chance for project delays if the line locator has to return to mark additional areas.
- Always hand-dig near natural gas facilities. Whether using a shovel or heavy equipment, use care around natural gas facilities. Just a nick can create a weak spot that could likely develop into a leak.
- Project delays? If you don’t dig within 10 days of having the lines marked, contact Iowa One-Call again. At no charge, line locators will return to re-mark the lines.
“Public safety and the welfare of customers and our employees are always our first concern,” said Wes Ashton, director of operations for Black Hills Energy in Iowa. “Whether your project is big or small, safe digging is critical to avoid an incident or tragedy.”
There are severe penalties attached to non-compliance with the Call Before You Dig laws. Striking an underground utility line could leave you with the bill for expensive repairs to property, to blame for a service outage to a neighborhood or entire community, or worst of all, responsible for personal injuries.
In Iowa, Black Hills Energy is responsible for maintaining nearly 2,954 miles of underground natural gas lines serving 156,000 customers in 132 communities. “Underground utility lines may be out of sight, but they should never be out of mind,” Ashton said. “Please – Call Before You Dig.”