For Release: 05/23/2012

Sprucing up the yard landscaping this weekend?

If it involves digging, call 8-1-1 first, says MERC

Rosemount/Rochester, MN - The upcoming Memorial Day weekend often involves sprucing up the yard, starting a landscaping project or planting some trees, shrubs, flowers or a vegetable garden. Minnesota Energy Resources (MERC) reminds everyone to first call the Gopher State One Call 8-1-1 Hotline before any projects involving digging begins.

The Gopher State One Call 8-1-1 Hotline is a one-call, coordinated, nationwide underground utility location system whose purpose is to keep everyone safe. Location specialists will come to your home as soon as possible, locate, and mark all underground utility services in your yard free of charge.

Everything from planting a new garden, installing fence posts, planting trees or shrubs, digging a post hole for your mailbox, posting temporary yard signs, pounding stakes for graduation party tents, to building a deck, all require a call to 8-1-1 before your project begins.

Nationwide, a utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes and one-third of these incidents are caused by failure of the homeowner or professional excavator to call 8-1-1.

MERC says the misconception is most home owners think the Gopher State One Call 8-1-1 Hotline only applies to those who use large power digging equipment. The unfortunate result may be serious injuries and disruption to electric or natural gas service to entire neighborhoods.

MERC has 4,480 miles of underground distribution and transportation natural gas pipeline in 165 Minnesota communities.

For more safety information, go to www.gopherstateonecall.org or www.minnesotaenergyresources.com.

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