On National 811 Day, Aug. 11 (8/11), PSEG Long Island reminds customers to call 811 before starting any improvement project that involves digging. Hitting a buried electric, gas, water or cable line while digging can disrupt utility service, cost money to repair, and even cause severe injury or death. One free call to 811 will ensure customers “know what’s below.”
811 is the designated national dialing code to have underground lines located and marked out before any excavation work begins around the home or business. When you call 811, you are automatically connected to the 811 Call Center, which collects information about your upcoming digging project. The information is provided to utility companies, who send representatives to mark the locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. Once lines have been properly marked, you will be notified and the digging can begin.
Every digging project, no matter how small, requires a call to 811 at least two and not more than 10 business days before work begins. For all projects, even planting a flowerbed, installing a mailbox or fence, or putting in an aboveground pool, calling 811 keeps people safe, avoids interruptions in utility service, and prevents delays in completing the project.
“A free call to 811 before digging keeps our customers safe and protects underground lines, which helps ensure excellent reliability across Long Island and the Rockaways. It also keeps your project from getting delayed or derailed while companies repair damaged underground lines,” said Michael Sullivan, vice president of Transmission and Distribution at PSEG Long Island. “It’s the smart thing to do, and it’s also the law. So far this year, we have had nearly 130,000 calls to 811 for electric markouts in our area.”
Underground utility mark-out work is performed entirely outdoors and there is no need for any interaction with the technicians.
Tips for safe digging:
• Call 811 at least two and not more than 10 business days before each job to have underground pipes, wires and equipment located and marked.
• Before work begins, confirm that a call to 811 has been made and the mark-out was completed. By law, all digging projects require a call to 811.
• Both property owners and contractors must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within 2 feet of marked lines, or the area known as the Tolerance Zone, to find the existing facility.
• Various colors are used when marking lines; to learn what each color represents, visit www.call811.com.
If an underground facility is struck resulting in an electric or gas emergency:
• Leave the area immediately and keep others away.
• Once you are at a safe location, call 911 to report the incident.
• If electrical equipment is damaged, call PSEG Long Island’s electric service emergency line at 800-490-0075.
• If gas piping is damaged or you smell gas when excavating, stop immediately and call National Grid’s gas emergency line at 800-490-0045.
PSEG Long Island has more than 5,000 circuit miles of underground electric distribution and transmission lines across Long Island and the Rockaways. In addition to the electric service lines, buried utilities can include communications cables and natural gas, water and sewer lines.