August 11th (8/11) reminder to always call 811 before digging

WESTFIELD – With August 11th almost here, Westfield Gas + Electric / Whip City Fiber hopes this date on the calendar, 8/11, will help residents to remember to call 811 at least 72 hours prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked.

Every hour, more than six damages occur to buried utilities across the country because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. Striking a line can result in repair costs, fines, inconvenient outages, and most importantly, personal injury. That means every digging project, regardless of the size, warrants a call to 811, including installing a mailbox, laying a patio, building a deck, or planting a tree.

When making the call to 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Dig Safe, the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both in the area of the proposed excavation. This is done free of charge to the homeowner.

“We want to remind homeowners and professional contractors – on August 11th and all year long – that this is the only way to know where utilities may be buried in your area”, said Dan Howard, General Manager for Westfield Gas + Electric / Whip City Fiber. “It really is the most important safety step in any digging project.”

Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. The depth of utility lines can vary over time for several reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and root system growth.

For more information about 811 and safe digging practices, visit or

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