Kids are almost out of school, and you can already hear the buzz of lawnmowers most weekends in the southern parts of Mississippi. Gardeners are busy weeding and planting, and that can be hazardous for homeowners who don’t plan ahead.
Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey encourages Mississippians to utilize Mississippi 811’s free call system before digging jobs of any size at a home or business.
Each April, we recognize National Safe Digging Month, an initiative that urges excavators and homeowners to call 811 before beginning a digging project to avoid any damages, injuries, or fatalities that could result from striking a utility line. Though spring home improvement projects, such as mailbox installations, fence building or tree planting, may seem harmless, they can have severely dangerous outcomes if utility lines are compromised while digging.
In 2021, Mississippi 811 agents received 480,871 calls (an 8.2% increase over 2020) which resulted in nearly 2.4 million utility locates. Mississippi 811 membership is still at nearly 1,100 utility members.
“I’m proud to report that more Mississippians are making more calls to 811 before they dig,” Commissioner Bailey said. “We just hope the number of callers continues to grow each year, as we all share the same goal of keeping our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe.”
As part of National Safe Digging Month, the Mississippi Public Service Commission encourages homeowners to take the following basic steps before conducting any digging or excavation:
- Contact 811 at least two days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
- Make an 811 request on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend.
- Confirm that all lines have been marked.
- Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line-markings.
- If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has contacted 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
Failure to notify 811 is the single largest individual cause contributing to the damage of underground utilities. Damage prevention is a shared responsibility. Do your part to prevent damage to underground utilities.
Call 811 before you plan to do any digging or excavation work on your property in Mississippi or visit https://www.ms811.org/. For any other consumer matters, please contact the Mississippi Public Service Commission Central District Office at 1-800-356-6430.