Construction work and DIY yard projects are on the rise and you need to know what’s below
Statewide growth is resulting in increased construction activities across Florida, and longer days and temperate springtime weather mean homeowners are spending more time working on planting and other outdoor projects. Contractors, excavators and DIYers need to remember to call 811 two business days before they start digging.
A national survey recently showed that 3 in 4 U.S. homeowners plan to dig on their property this year – but only 60 percent of them plan to call 811 before they begin their projects. When homeowners forget to call 811 before digging, they run the risk of damaging their own service lines. When excavators don’t follow safe digging practices, the impact is much greater – hundreds of residents and businesses can lose utility service from just one hit line.
Throughout April, Sunshine 811, Peoples Gas and other utilities are promoting National Safe Digging Month. The campaign is designed to remind Floridians of the network of wires, cables and pipelines located underground, and often closer to the surface than you might think. Striking one of these underground utility lines while digging could result in loss of natural gas, electric, water or communications and cable services, injure you or others, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.
One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for Sunshine 811 to notify utility companies of your intent to dig. Peoples Gas has a team of locators who visit job sites and mark our natural gas lines around homes and businesses – but only if there’s a call to 811 to let us know. Peoples Gas locators responded to more than 600,000 requests to locate and mark underground lines in 2022, a 5 percent increase over 2021.
Here are some tips to remember:
- Call 811 or visit sunshine811.com at least two full business days before digging to make your request, giving utility companies enough time to properly mark lines. Be prepared to provide the location and description of your digging project.
- The contractor doing the work is responsible for contacting 811 to request property be located and marked. Sunshine 811 recommends that all excavators request their own tickets.
- Sunshine 811 notifies affected utility companies, which then send a professional locator to mark the approximate location of underground equipment for free.
- Check the status of your request at visit sunshine811.com and, once all utilities have responded by marking the site and giving the all-clear, roll up those sleeves and dig carefully within 24 inches of any marks in your project area.
- Even if you are not digging, remember to leave any markers – paint or flags – in place. They are a sign of work that may be coming soon to your area by a utility or contractor.
Visit sunshine811.com and PeoplesGas.com for more information about safe digging.
Peoples Gas System Inc., Florida’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serves nearly 470,000 homes and businesses across the state. The company’s mission is to make life better for communities by delivering safe, resilient, efficient and affordable natural gas energy solutions. Through investments in people, technology, infrastructure and environmentally focused innovations, the company is committed to fueling Florida’s clean energy future responsibly and sustainably. Peoples Gas is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. To learn more about the benefits of natural gas for Florida, visit FloridasEnergy.com. Find more information about the company, its culture, career opportunities and community investments at PeoplesGas.com.