Know what’s below. Always call before you dig.
August 11 is National 8-1-1 Safe Digging Day. Safe digging practices should be followed year-round by everyone from home do-it-yourself diggers to professional excavators. Calling 811 is the safe thing to do, it’s free, and in Tennessee, it’s the law.
Tennessee State Law requires anyone preparing to dig, excavate, demolish property, or conduct any activity that could damage underground utility lines, to notify Tennessee One Call (811) of their intent to dig no less than three business days before the work begins. Tennessee One Call will then notify KUB and other member companies about the proposed work and the utilities at the digging site will be marked with paint or flags so customers will know where to safely dig. KUB reports that they receive anywhere from seven to 10 calls per week from customers reporting a “dig-in”, which is when a customer has hit an underground line. Dig-ins are dangerous to excavators, the public, and KUB responders and should be prevented by calling 811.
A notification to 811 is required no matter the size of the project, and the service is free of charge. Locate requests can also be made by simply dialing 8-1-1 or through the Tennessee 811 mobile app. The mobile app can be used to submit a locate request, search for locate tickets and access the Tennessee 811 handbook among other useful tools.
KUB also wants to remind excavators of the following safe digging messages:
- Damage to underground utility lines can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, cause injury or death to the excavator, and result in fines and repair costs. The depths of utility lines vary, and multiple lines may exist in the same area.
- Excavators should always use extreme caution when they dig and avoid digging within the utility safety zone. The safety zone is a strip of land extending 2 feet on either side of the utility.
- Customer-owned service lines such as underground electrical, water, and wastewater are not mapped and therefore may not be marked. Natural gas service lines are mapped and will be marked.
- Other customer-owned buried lines that are not marked include lines for outside lighting, invisible fencing, irrigation systems, and customer fuel lines.