Call before you dig to find utility lines

Call before you dig to find utility lines Now that warmer weather has returned to South Dakota, contractors and homeowners have an opportunity to complete their spring and summer projects � many of which involve digging.

However, without guidance from their local gas and electric company they could be digging into 7,200 or even 14,400 volts of buried electrical distribution lines or combustible natural gas lines.

"It can happen to anyone digging or scraping," notes Don Hook of East River Power Cooperative in Madison. "That includes putting down footing, landscaping and planting trees."

Hooks adds that erosion and other factors can bring buried lines even closer to the surface.

Hook advises that anyone planning to dig must notify the South Dakota One-Call Notification Center (1-800-781-7474) of the proposed excavation before digging. Local gas or electric suppliers will then come out and mark lines. The call should be made at least 48 hours before digging.

While homeowners need to be aware of where their gas and electric lines are buried, contractors and builders face the biggest risk.

"We know that the construction season can put builders under time pressure, and sometimes it's hard to take the time to get locations," says Hook. "But there is no shortcut to safety."

For information contact Robert Miller, Energy Safety Association. 605-224-6311

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