For Release: 05/24/2011

Planning a landscaping project? Call 8-1-1 first!

Rosemount, MN - As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many homeowners will once again be beautifying their yards and neighborhoods by planting trees, shrubs and flowers. Minnesota Energy Resources reminds everyone to call 8-1-1 BEFORE any digging projects are done. The "8-1-1 Hotline- Gopher State One Call" is a coordinated nationwide underground utility location system that is set up for everyone's safety.

There is a complex network and infrastructure of pipelines, wires and cables running underground in communities. Minnesota Energy has about 4,500 miles of distribution and transmission pipeline in the state.

Most customers are aware of the "8-1-1" system, but do not think it applies to them unless they are using some larger power digging equipment. The unfortunate result may be serious injuries to the person digging and disruption of utility service to entire neighborhoods.

The locate process involves calling the "8-1-1 Gopher State One Call" system and answering a few questions about your location and project. Locating specialists will respond and do 'the locate' on your property within a few working days.

These digging projects include everything from planting trees or shrubs to building a deck to simply installing a roadside mailbox.

Nationwide, there are more than 200,000 unintentional digger's hits on underground utility facilities each year. Utility records indicate a very high percentage of accidental dig-ins result from people not calling "8-1-1."

For larger excavating contractors, utilities and the "8-1-1" system offer a number of annual safety meetings and invite anyone associated with commercial digging to attend.

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