Dial 8-1-1 before you dig

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With the increasing warmth of the season come increased thoughts of making home upgrades and repairs, or putting renovation projects in motion. But one detail that often gets left out of the mix is how to safely execute those projects, particularly when they require digging underground. As part of April’s “National Safe Digging Month,” Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company urge customers to dial 8-1-1, the Federal Communication Commission’s designated call-before-you-dig number, to identify buried lines that could be damaged as a result of excavation work. Whether it’s a home owner or contractor, and whether installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck or laying a patio – Kentucky law requires all excavators to contact operators of underground utilities before performing any excavation work. According to Common Ground Alliance, a national organization focused on protecting underground utilities across the country, an underground utility line is damaged every eight minutes because someone decided to dig without calling 8-1-1 first.

• Start by planning ahead – Know what you plan to do, where you plan to do it and when you’d like to begin your dig.

• Call 8-1-1 at least two days before you plan to dig and provide the required information about your dig to the call agent. Kentucky 811 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

• Wait the required time for marking – When you call Kentucky 811, they coordinate with Kentucky 811 member utilities in your area, including LG&E and KU, to have underground utility lines marked. This work is performed at no cost to you.

• A "locate request" goes out to member utilities, including those who provide natural gas, electric, telephone, cable and water service. Crews either mark their underground facilities or notify the excavator they have no underground lines in the area. 

•Respect the marks and dig with care - Markings are completed using paint or flags according to the standard color code system. If you have any questions, you should contact the appropriate utility directly.  

• LG&E customers should dial 8-1-1 before they dig. KU customers can visit http://www.lge-ku.com/jump/kentucky811.asp to see if they need to call 8-1-1 or KU directly based on the area where they are digging.