The Michigan Public Service Commission today asked Michiganders — from homeowners doing backyard projects to businesses engaging in major construction — to not wait until the last minute to have underground utilities marked by MISS DIG 811.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order allowing construction projects to resume May 7 after being put on hold as part of her Stay Home, Stay Safe efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Construction can resume provided that employers adopt best practices to protect their workers from infection.
With spring weather arriving and homeowners turning to backyard projects, and with companies resuming construction, there’s pent-up demand for location marking for buried utilities including natural gas, telecommunications, electricity, water and sewer lines.
MISS DIG 811, Michigan’s nonprofit statewide underground utility safety notification system, is asking anyone doing big or small projects that involve digging to place calls to 811 or fill out a request online at www.call811.com up to two weeks in advance to make use of the 14-day window allotted under state law.
Anyone excavating is required by law to contact MISS DIG 811 no later than 72 hours in advance so that utilities can be marked by trained workers with spray paint or colored flags.
“If you know you’re going to dig in two weeks, don’t wait until 72 hours beforehand to contact MISS DIG 811,” said Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG System, Inc. “You can contact us two weeks in advance, which allows facility owners and their locators to be better prepared for increased volume in calls for locating underground utilities.”
Underground utility lines in Michigan are damaged during digging activities every year, causing service disruptions and putting lives and property at risk.
“No matter the size of the project, digging should only be done after a call to 811,” said MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg. “We strongly encourage Michiganders to help us do everything we can do to reduce the chances of people being injured or vital services being interrupted because someone struck underground utility lines.”