NJUA encourages New Jersey residents to always call 811 a few days before digging
Trenton, N.J. – This April marks National Safe Digging Month. In recognition of National Safe Digging Month, the New Jersey Utilities Association (NJUA) is reminding New Jersey residents to always call 811 three full business days before any digging project. National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and has traditionally earned the support from nearly every state governor across the country.
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to New Jersey One Call, the state’s one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after a call to 811.
Just last week, Governor Phil Murphy issued a proclamation declaring the month of April as “Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Month,” highlighting the importance of the New Jersey Underground Facility Protection Act. This proclamation reminds individuals to practice safe digging throughout the year, not just in April.
“As April marks the traditional start of digging season, we are using this month to strongly encourage individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin digging,” said Andrew Hendry, president and CEO of NJUA.
“By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and professionals are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected,” said Mary Patricia Keefe, chairperson of NJUA’s board of directors and vice president of external affairs and business support for Elizabethtown Gas. “We ask that all New Jersey residents and businesses remember to call before they dig to help ensure safe digging around underground utilities.”
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. 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.