Each day in Arizona more than five utility lines are damaged due to unsafe digging. Damaging a buried utility line is dangerous, disruptive and costly. Thankfully, it can all be avoided with one simple call to 811 before digging.
National 811 Day is Thursday, Aug. 11 and and Arizona’s public utilities have teamed up to remind homeowners, construction crews and anyone planning to dig to call 811 before any digging project to avoid digging up trouble. Arizona Public Service, Southwest Gas, SRP, Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services want to remind the public of the dangers that come with digging into a utility line and encourage customers to know what’s below – call 811 before digging.
Across the state, many shared utility services that communities rely on run through corridors directly underneath them. These potentially hazardous lines include: natural gas, electricity, communications, water and more. Too often, homeowners completing do-it-yourself projects in their yard do not realize that many of these utilities may be buried just a few inches below the surface. Underground power lines, while well insulated, can be easily damaged by a shovel or pick and create a shock or flash hazard. This can cause service interruptions to customers and, more importantly, create an extreme safety risk to the person digging.
The utility companies want to remind the public that a natural gas leak can be detected by a distinct sulfur-like odor, like rotten eggs, even if it’s faint or momentary. Unusual hissing or roaring coming from the ground or an above-ground pipeline, bubbling water and discolored plants or grass surrounding a pipeline, can also be signs of a leak. Citizens can contact Arizona 811 from anywhere in Arizona at least two full working days prior to digging. Arizona 811 will send utility companies out to the work site to locate and mark underground lines, pipes and cables at, or near, a planned dig site. Customers can also submit a free 811 request easily online using E-Stake. In the United States, there are uniform color codes for the temporary marking of underground utilities.
They are as follows: