Local News


April is 'Call Before You Dig' month

GreyStone Power Corporation Selects Sensus for Smart Utility Network
Posted at 10:57 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 01:57:08-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It is that time of year when people are landscaping and doing other outdoor activities that require digging into the ground.

Since the Las Vegas valley is urban and compact, many utilities, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewage and communications, are located underground.

To prevent potential accidents, call 8-1-1, a free service, and request that underground utilities be located. Not knowing where these utilities are while digging can potentially cause damage to underground lines, and injuries or even death to the person digging. The 8-1-1 campaign aims to emphasize the importance of calling and having lines located BEFORE any digging is done.

Simple projects, such as planting a tree or bush, or digging a hole to install a post for a sign or mailbox, have been known to sever utility lines.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated nationally the 8-1-1 number for homeowners and professional excavators to call before digging.

The 8-1-1 calls are directed to the local One Call Center and the affected utilities are notified to locate and then mark underground utilities at no cost. Las Vegas Fire & Rescue has responded to incidents in the past that damaged underground utilities and found that utilities are not always where people think they are, whether in backyards, side yards, or other unsuspected locations.

It is estimated that an underground utility is damaged every nine minutes in the United States because someone did not call 8-1-1 prior to digging.

In 2018, 302 incidents occurred throughout the Las Vegas valley where a pipeline was damaged because no call was made. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, service disruptions, and costly repairs when natural gas, electric, communications, water, and sewer lines are damaged.

Aside from the danger, digging without calling is costly. Recorded damages in 2018 show an estimated $100,000 due to incidents where underground utilities were not marked ahead of time.

A media released by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) indicated that only about 51 percent of homeowners who knew that they should call 8-1-1 before digging actually did so before starting their project. Some of the projects that people were most likely not to call 8-1-1 about before they dig include:

  • 84 percent - Planting shrubs
  • 84 percent - Planting shrubs
  • 61 percent - Installing a pole for a basketball goal
  • 50 percent - Building a deck
  • 46 percent - Installing a fence
  • 46 percent - Installing a fence

As part of National Safe Digging Month, CGA encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:
Always call 8-1-1 two full working days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.

Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.

Confirm with 8-1-1 that all lines have been marked.

Learn what the various colors of paint and flags represent at www.call811.com/faqs.

  • RED – electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables;
  • ORANGE – telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit;
  • YELLOW – natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum or other gaseous or flammable material;
  • GREEN – sewers and drain lines;
  • BLUE – drinking water, irrigation and slurry lines;
  • PURPLE – reclaimed water;
  • PINK – temporary survey markings, unknown/unidentified facilities;
  • WHITE – proposed excavation limits or routes.

Consider moving the location of the project if it is too close to underground utilities.
If a contractor has been hired to do a project on your property, confirm with 8-1-1 that they called to have underground utilities located, so no damage occurs on your property.

If you suspect that an underground utility has been struck while working, leave the area immediately, do not smoke or use any type of mechanical device, including power equipment, and call 9-1-1. If a fire starts because of contact with an underground utility, evacuate the area immediately and call 9-1-1.

More information about the Call Before You Dig campaign and the Common Ground Alliance can be found on the website: www.call811.com