811 – Still An Essential Service

Picture of DPC of TExas

DPC of TExas

As restrictions pertaining to the COVID-19 public health crisis are being lifted, it is important that homeowners and contractors continue to contact Texas811 by calling 811 or placing an online request at www.texas811.org before beginning projects that involve digging to maintain utility service and keep communities safe

As excavation activities continue into the Spring digging season, the Damage Prevention Council of Texas reminds homeowners and contractors that safe digging must remain a priority to prevent damage to critical utility services — including internet and other communications lines — and keep communities safe.

As homeowners continue to work from home, they still find themselves with more time on their hands to begin home improvement projects that require digging, such as landscaping or installing a mailbox, deck or fence. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged. By utilizing Texas811’s free-of-charge essential public safety service by calling 811 or placing an online request at www.texas811.org before digging will help residents avoid making circumstances worse by accidentally damaging buried utility lines.

“During these unprecedented times, it’s crucial to keep in mind the importance of keeping the public safe and connected to critical services in all situations. Anyone who plans to do digging projects without taking the important step of calling 811 beforehand is taking an unnecessary risk — and one that could impact their entire community,” said John Sparks, Damage Prevention Council of Texas President. “Calling 811 a few days before any planned home improvement projects that require digging — including common landscaping projects like planting trees and shrubs — is critical to preventing incidents like internet and other utility service outages, and serious injuries. It’s easy to enjoy DIY activities during social distancing while also staying safe and connected.”

The Damage Prevention Council of Texas encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project:

  • Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
  • Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
  • Confirm that all lines have been marked.
  • Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
  • Visit dpcoftexas.org for complete info.

Texans who call 811 a few days before digging are connected with Texas811, whose agents will take the caller’s information and determine if the excavation may be in conflict with underground facilities. If there are lines in the vicinity, Texas811 will notify affected utility & pipeline companies who will send professional locators to the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been marked, it is the responsibility of the excavator to safely expose the underground facilities using hand tools to determine the precise location and then excavation with mechanized equipment can begin.

As always, the safety and health of all Texans is our number one priority. Calling 811 can help ensure that you, your property and those around you stay safe.

- Doug Meeks

Damage Prevention Manager