For Release: 05/08/2014
Rosemount, Rochester MN - Whether landscaping or planting trees, shrubs or flowers this spring, Minnesota Energy Resources reminds everyone "safety first" and to call 8-1-1 or click to contact GOPHER STATE ONE CALL before any projects involving digging begins.
Utility locate specialists will come to the requestor's home, locate and mark all underground utility services in yards free of charge. No matter where residents live, the natural gas, electric, cable TV, water and sewer lines may be buried underground.
The 8-1-1 GOPHER STATE ONE CALL is a coordinated, one call center that was established to keep digging accidents from happening. At least two working days are required for locates prior to beginning a digging project.
"Contacting 8-1-1 is a state law and it requires notifying GOPHER STATE ONE CALL before you excavate, grade, trench, dig, drill, auger, tunnel, scrape or plow," said Jeff Larson, Senior External Affairs Manager at Minnesota Energy Resources. "Excavation means anything that moves, removes or displaces earth, rock or other material in or on the ground. Residents are reminded to leave an 18-inch buffer zone on each side of a marked facility," added Larson.
Projects that require a call could also include installing fence posts, digging a post hole for your mailbox, posting temporary yard signs, pounding stakes for temporary party tents and building a deck.
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.
The misconception is most home owners think the 8-1-1 hotline only applies to contractors who use large construction-style power digging equipment. The unfortunate result, according to Larson, may be serious injuries and disruption to natural gas or other utility service to entire neighborhoods.
Minnesota Energy Resources has 4,500 miles of underground natural gas pipeline and about 203,800 lateral services going to homes and businesses in Minnesota. This year marks the 26th anniversary of excavation safety in Minnesota.