SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Public Utility Commission is reminding homeowners and professional contractors of the importance of calling 811 before starting any outdoor digging project. Every six minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without calling 811 first. Striking a line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages.
“August 11 (8/11) is a convenient way to promote safe digging and the use of the free 811 service,” said Lori Koho, Utility Safety and Reliability Administrator for the PUC. “Every digging project, no matter how large or small, requires a call to 811 at least two business days before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line.”
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC), the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the underground lines with color-coded flags, spray paint or both.
“Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches below the surface, the risk of striking an underground utility line exists,” said Koho. “811 helps maintain the safety of Oregon residents and the reliability of utility services that we all appreciate.”