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Call MISS Dig 811 before you start a job that involves digging, Governor Whitmer and MPSC urge during Safe Digging Month
April 10, 2023
Media contact: Matt Helms 517-284-8300
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With spring’s arrival and construction season kicking off, Michiganders’ may be thinking about improvements around their homes. But before you put a shovel in the ground, you can help keep your household and your neighbors safe by doing what everyone should do before they begin a project that involves digging: Call MISS DIG 811 to have underground utilities marked in advance to prevent damage and potentially deadly consequences.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a proclamation marking Michigan’s participation in April for National Safe Digging Month. Governor Whitmer, the Michigan Public Service Commission and MISS DIG 811, the state’s underground utility locator, urge anyone planning a project involving digging to call 811 at least three business days (72 hours) in advance to ensure buried utilities aren’t damaged — no matter the size of your excavation project.
Calling MISS DIG 811 is free and ensures buried gas, electric, water and sewer, phone and other underground utilities are clearly marked before digging projects begin.
“Call 811 whenever your project includes digging, whether you’re a homeowner planting a tree or putting in a new deck, fence or mailbox, or you’re a construction crew with a major project,” MPSC Chair Dan Scripps said. “A call to MISS DIG 811 helps prevent underground utility lines from being damaged, leading to possible service outages, injuries or deaths.”
Around 74% of American homeowners are planning a home improvement project involving digging in 2023, and as many as 50 million won’t call 811 ahead of time, according to a survey by Common Ground Alliance, a national association dedicated to preventing damage to buried utility infrastructure. Hitting underground gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines while digging can have a major impact on communities and businesses and can result in inconvenient service disruptions, costly fines and repairs, serious injury or death.
The alliance encourages homeowners to plan ahead and make a request by calling 811 on a Monday or Tuesday so there’s plenty of time for utilities to be marked for a weekend DIY project.
Call 811 at least three days before digging or fill out a request online at www.MISSDIG811.org. Trained workers from utility companies will be sent to job sites to mark the location of utilities with spray paint or flags. Anyone planning to dig is asked not to do so until utilities are marked, and to carefully dig by hand in the designated utility area.
“Contacting MISS DIG 811 before you dig is free and easy, and it’s the law,” said Briant Thomas, President of MISS DIG System, Inc. “No matter how shallow the digging may be before your project, make the call to 811, so you and your community can stay safe and connected.”
More information is available in the MPSC’s tip sheet on MISS DIG 811 and safe digging.
For information about the MPSC, visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc, sign up for its monthly newsletter or other listservs. Follow the Commission on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
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