For Release: 10/10/2013

Wisconsin Public Service Autumn Safety Reminder-Call 8-1-1 Before You Dig!

Green Bay, WI - Autumn is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, finish up that summer project or drive stakes for snow fencing. Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) reminds everyone to first call 8-1-1 to contact Diggers Hotline in Wisconsin and Miss Dig in Michigan before any projects involving digging begins. Diggers Hotline and Miss Dig are coordinated, one-call centers that were established to keep everyone safe. Utility locate specialists will come to your home, locate and mark all underground utility services in your yard free of charge.

At least three working days are required for locates prior to beginning a digging project. Calling 8-1-1 is a state law, according to WPS. (WI state statute 182.0175 and MI-Act 53) It requires notifying Diggers Hotline or Miss Dig before you excavate, grade, trench, dig, drill, auger, tunnel, scrape or plow. Excavation, according to the law, means anything that moves, removes or displaces earth, rock or other material in or on the ground. State law also mandates an 18-inch hand digging only buffer zone on each side of a marked facility.

WPS responds to more than 400 cases of excavation damage to natural gas and electric underground facilities per year. Nationwide, a utility line is damaged 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.

WPS says the misconception is most home owners think the 8-1-1 hotline only applies to those who use large construction-style power digging equipment. The unfortunate result may be serious injuries and disruption to electric or natural gas service to entire neighborhoods.

WPS has 7,800 miles of underground natural gas pipeline and 6,000 miles of underground electrical line in 19 northeastern and north central Wisconsin counties and a small portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Call well in advance of your project start date to get locates done. Either dial 8-1-1 or submit a locate request through the email-a-locate system online at Diggers Hotline or Miss Dig. Additional safety information is available on the WPS Website.

The use of ladders while working in and around above-ground power lines for projects like cleaning gutters of leaves and debris, house painting, tree branch trimming or getting roof access can also lead to unsafe situations. Tree trimming in potentially dangerous situations near power lines should be done by tree trimming professionals who are trained and have the proper equipment.

Any electrical yard tools, like hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, small rotor-tillers, pressure washers and air pressure tanks that use extension cords must also be used properly while keeping personal safety in mind. To notify of your intent to dig:

  • Call 811 or
  • Visit Diggers Hotline (for Wisconsin customers) or MISS DIG (for Michigan customers)
  • Hearing Impaired (TDD) call 800-542-2289

For More Information, Contact:

  • Dayna Watson
    920-236-5945
    Brillion, Chilton, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc Counties
     
  • Lynn Kroll
    920-617-5160
    Green Bay Area
     
  • Jenny Short
    906-863-4376
    Crivitz, Menominee, Wabeno, Wausaukee
     
  • Leah Van Zile
    715-369-7179
    Crandon, Eagle River, Minocqua, Rhinelander, Tomahawk
     
  • Kelly Zagrzebski
    715-848-7342
    Antigo, Merrill, Stevens Point, Wausau, Waupaca
     
  • Media Hotline
    800-977-2250