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News | News Release Contact: Vanessa Copeland, (804) 371-9141
For Immediate Release: August 11, 2014

RICHMOND — - August 11 is National 811 Day. A perfect day to remind all homeowners and professional excavators of the importance of always calling 811 before beginning any digging or demolishing project.

It is a simple and free call that connects you to VA811 (formally known as Miss Utility), which notifies the appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Utility locators come to your project area, in the time allowed by law, to mark the approximate horizontal location of the underground utility lines by means of paint, stakes, or flags. Once marked, hand digging is required within 24 inches of these marks for safe excavation.

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is the agency responsible for enforcing the Virginia Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act. SCC Utility and Railroad Safety Division Director Massoud Tahamtani says, “On August 11 and throughout the year homeowners and contractors alike are reminded to call 811 before digging to prevent damage to underground utility lines.”

Many vital utility services are provided to our homes and businesses by underground utility lines. According to Tahamtani, “Whenever an underground utility line is damaged, the consequences can be far-reaching and can include personal injury or worse. Also at stake are environmental damage, economic loss, and disruption of vital utility services that we use on a daily basis.” He added, “Damaging an underground utility line can lead to liability claims and civil penalties against the responsible party.”

VA811 is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding legal state and national holidays. Emergency notifications, however, can be made 365-days-a-year, 24-hours-a-day for excavations involving emergencies as defined in the Virginia Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act.

Virginia's C.A.R.E. message reminds you to call VA811 and avoid damage to underground utility lines. C.A.R.E. means:

  • Call Miss Utility at 811 before you dig.
  • Allow the required time for marking.
  • Respect and protect the marks.
  • Excavate carefully.

To learn more about “Digging with C.A.R.E.” and Virginia’s damage prevention program, contact the SCC’s Division of Utility and Railroad Safety at (804) 371-9980, or visit the division’s website at