MPSC Chairman Talberg: Call 811 hotline before digging


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MPSC Chairman Talberg: Call 811 hotline before digging

Utilities will mark underground lines for free; April is National Safe Digging Month

LANSING, Mich. – With Spring having arrived and the weather turning warmer, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today reminded Michiganders to call 811 before starting any residential or business digging projects to safeguard against striking buried utility lines. 

April is National Safe Digging Month and it’s important to everyone’s safety that homeowners and businesses call 811 a few days before starting small or large projects. After making the call, trained professionals from local utilities will come out to any job site for free to mark the approximate locations of underground gas, electric, communications, water, or sewer lines. Once utility lines are designated, a project can get started -- but care still should be taken when working in marked areas.

“April marks the traditional start of construction and excavation season in our state and the Michigan Public Service Commission strongly encourages individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin any projects,” said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC. “We want to make sure everyone stays safe and that underground utility resources are protected so that Michiganders and their communities will stay connected.”

Gov. Rick Snyder stressed in marking April as Safe Digging Month that damage to underground utilities can cause service interruption, damage to the environment, and most serious of all, personal injury and even death.

Every nine minutes in the United States an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811, according to Common Ground Alliance, the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines.

Whether putting in a mailbox, planting a shrub, installing farm irrigation, or breaking ground on a business expansion, utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, there’s still a risk of striking an underground service line. The depth of utility lines can vary for many reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces. Even if hiring someone to do the job, make sure they have called 811 before work begins.

To learn more about 811 and how to protect vital infrastructure, visit

For more information about the MPSC, please visit or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.

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