RICHMOND — Do you always call 811 before beginning any digging or demolishing projects? If not, you may be placing yourself and others at risk.
The State Corporation Commission (SCC) reminds Virginians that damage to underground utility lines can cause far-reaching consequences such as economic loss, environmental damage, property damage, injury or even death. It also can lead to liability claims and civil penalties against the responsible party.
National 811 Day is observed each year on August 11. It highlights the need for homeowners and professional excavators to take the first step to avoid damaging underground utility lines by always calling 811 before beginning any digging or demolition projects.
Calling 811 is simple and free. It connects you to VA811, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig or demolish. Utility locators come to your project area, in the time allowed by law, to mark the approximate horizontal location of their 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.
VA811 is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding legal state and national holidays. However, emergency notifications 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.
“Be a partner in damage prevention. Always take the first step by calling 811 before you begin any digging or demolishing project and follow Virginia’s C.A.R.E. message,” said Senior Damage Prevention Specialist Frank Hudik with the SCC’s Division of Utility and Railroad Safety.
Virginia's C.A.R.E. message reminds you to call VA811 and emphasizes additional steps you can take to prevent damage to underground utility lines. C.A.R.E. means:
- Call 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 http://www.scc.virginia.gov/urs/mutility/index.aspx.