MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (WANE) — April has been proclaimed Safe Digging Month in Indiana, and NIPSCO is reminding customers and contractors to always call 811 at least two business days before starting any digging project.
“Making this free call will ensure the dig site is marked with paint or flags where the approximate underground public utility lines are located,” NIPSCO said. “Calling 811 is critical for your safety and can reduce the risk of serious injury. It’s also the law.”
Not calling could result in fines up to $10,000 and the cost to repair any damages, the press release said.
In 2020, NIPSCO reported over 969 instances where diggers struck their gas lines. Of those, 40% occurred because the person digging did not know, or failed to call 811.
“There is a 99% chance that there will not be any damage when completing a project if you call 811 prior to digging,” NIPSCO said.
Whether you’re installing a mailbox, planting trees or performing any other outdoor digging
project, NIPSCO encourages you to take the following steps:
- Always call 811 or enter a request online at 811 Now two business days before the start of any digging project.
- Tell neighbors, coworkers, family and friends about 811 if they discuss their plans for an outdoor home improvement project with you.
- Plan ahead – Indiana 811 is always open. Just make sure you call at least two business days in advance of your project start date.
- Avoid starting projects until you’re sure all lines have been marked. When you call 811, you will hear a list of companies that should respond.
- Choose another location on the property for a project if the original planned site is near utility line markings.
- If your excavation is within two feet of any marked facility, only use hand tools or vacuum excavation with extreme caution.
- If you have hired a contractor to complete your project, confirm that he or she has made a call to 811 before doing any digging. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
- After the site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging carefully around the marked areas.
By calling 811, NIPSCO said a trained utility line locator will visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground public utility lines with paint or flags. Each color of paint and/or flag represents a unique type of underground utility. The color code guide can tell you which colors indicate which type of utility and where to avoid digging. The utility flags may be removed once the project is fully complete. See the complete color code guide at NIPSCO.com/811.
NIPSCO said it uses two outside companies to assist with marking underground facilities for customers — GridHawk and Utiliquest. With the enhanced offering, NIPSCO customers will now receive an electronic confirmation that their requested project area has been located.
For more information about 811, visit NIPSCO.com/811.