Spring is here and so are extended daylight hours, along with underground utility lines that your shovels can hit but your eyes can’t see. Since April is National Safe Digging Month, Entergy Mississippi is reminding people to call 811 before digging into their spring-cleaning list.
The focus of Safe Digging Month is on preventing serious consequences that could occur from digging without knowing what’s below the surface. Regardless of what someone plans to do, how deep they plan to dig or even if they’ve called before for a similar project, every job requires a call first.
“It’s just as important to locate underground utilities as it is to keep your distance from overhead power lines,” said Robbin Jeter, Entergy Mississippi vice president of customer service. “Whether you’re a homeowner, business owner or contractor, don’t chance it and assume there isn’t a utility line below. Avoid even close calls by dialing 811 before you dig – it’s the law.”
Mississippi has its own 811 call center and representatives are available to tell someone how to submit requests to learn what utilities may be buried beneath the ground, such as natural gas pipelines, electric power lines, and other services.
All utilities must respond within two business days, starting at 7 a.m. the day after an individual makes the request. Professional locators mark the approximate locations of underground lines at the requested digging site with flags, paint or both. Markings show the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences such as injury, service disruptions or costly fines and repair costs.
If there is suspected utility damage of any kind, Entergy urges people to leave the area immediately and call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) or 911. A gas leak could be occurring if there one can smell the distinctive natural gas odor, hear a hissing or whistling sound near a gas appliance or see dead vegetation or bubbles near a gas line.