For Release: 04/03/2012
Rosemont/Rochester, MN - In an effort to save lives and protect underground utility infrastructures, the month of April has been designated as "Safe Digging" month nationally. Minnesota Energy Resources wants to chime in and remind everyone of the importance of calling 811 BEFORE you dig at least 48 hours prior to digging.
"This applies to everyone, from homeowners working on simple projects in the backyard to contractors working at an industrial job site," reminds Minnesota Energy Resources officials. There is a "Gopher State One Call- 811" pre-established system in place that will send a locator technician to where the digging is planned as soon as possible. There is no charge for the service and the 811 call is toll free.
Minnesota Energy Resources reminds everyone not to wait until the last minute before calling. With all the projects going on involving digging this time of year, it is best to get your request in early to avoid any delays in getting locates done so your project can proceed in a timely fashion.
Minnesota Energy Resources wants customers to know that accidental contact from digging near underground utility services (natural gas pipelines, electric power lines, water lines and communication lines) can be extremely dangerous and could cause personal injury and disrupt vital services to entire neighborhoods.
This is not just for the large contractor using backhoes, according to Minnesota Energy Resources. This involves everyone who might simply be planting a tree, installing a sprinkler system, installing fence posts or constructing a deck in the back yard. Digging can have dangerous consequences if you don't check before you start.
Minnesota Energy Resources holds a number of excavation safety meetings annually and invites anyone associated with commercial digging to attend. Minnesota Energy Resources has about 4,480 miles of distribution and transmission main natural gas pipeline and about 203,000 natural gas lateral services.
The Safe Digging Month was started by the Common Ground Alliance, an association created to work with all utility stakeholders in an effort to prevent damage to underground utility systems. The Alliance has 1,400 members nationwide and grew out of the US Department of Transportation's study that pointed out the national need to establish best practices amongst the entire utility industry.