April is Safe Digging Month

April is the month when people shake off winter doldrums, get ready to cut the grass again, and foray into outdoor construction jobs.
The Public Service Commission of West Virginia reminds everyone that April is Safe Digging Month and to call WV811 before digging.
At the request of the PSC, Gov. Jim Justice declared April is Safe Digging Month. That proclamation was presented to officials of WV811 by Mary Friend, director of the PSC’s gas pipeline safety division.
The presentation to Jerry Poage, executive director of WV811, and Rich Swiger, the organization’s president, came at the third annual damage prevention seminar, hosted by the Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia. Friend spoke at the seminar.
Safe Digging Month reminds all, from professional excavators to backyard gardeners, they are legally required to call 811 before they start to dig.
Call two days, excluding weekends and holidays, before starting a project.
The 811 team will notify utility companies, which will send locators to the site. They will mark the locations of underground facilities with flags, stakes, or paint.
Once the buried facilities have been marked, owners or their contractors can dig.
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.
Even if an owner had an area marked previously, he still needs to call 811 before digging.
Striking a natural gas pipeline, a wire, or a cable can result in utility service outages, which can leave the owner liable for costly repairs or significant legal fines. A line strike also can cause serious injury or death.
“Everyone needs to be aware of the importance of calling 811 before they dig,” PSC chairman Charlotte R. Lane said.
“Whether you are a homeowner or a professional contractor, always call 811 before you begin to dig. It is required by law, and the 811 call is free. This protects you, your property, and our underground utility infrastructure.”