As temperatures finally start to rise, April is shaping up to be the perfect time for prepping our homes and gardens for summertime. But we want to remind customers and contractors that April is also National Safe Digging Month and they should call 811 before the shovel hits the ground.
Calling 811 is free, and you’ll connect automatically to the New York One-Call center, which collects information about your digging project to ensure there’s no interference with underground pipelines, conduits, wires and cables. The one-call center then provides the information to the utility companies, who will send representatives to mark the locations of underground lines in the immediate vicinity of the planned work location with flags, paint or both. Once lines have been properly marked and you receive confirmation, you can begin your project. The process typically takes about two business days.
We have more than 5,000 circuit miles of underground electric distribution and transmission lines across Long Island and in the Rockaways. In addition to electric service lines, there are also buried communications cables and natural gas, water and sewer lines, among other utilities. Even areas across the service territory that are not served by a particular service may still have utility lines running below ground, so it’s important to be extra cautious when digging.
Use these tips to help yourself, friends and family stay safe:
- Call 811 at least two business days before each job to have underground facilities located.
- If you hired a contractor, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Do not allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
- Large and small projects, such as installing a fence, building a deck and planting a tree, all warrant a call to 811.
- Property owners must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within two feet of marked lines or the area known as the Tolerance Zone.
- Various colors are used when marking lines, learn what each color represents at www.call811.com.
If an underground facility is struck resulting in an electrical or gas emergency:
- Leave the area immediately and keep others away.
- Call 911 to report the incident and the respective utility:
- If electrical equipment was damaged, call PSEG Long Island’s electric service line at 800-490-0075.
- If you accidentally damage gas piping or smell gas when excavating, call 911 and National Grid Long Island’s gas emergency line at 800-490-0045 immediately from a safe area.