Digging Safety

Digging Safety

Call Before You Dig
If you plan to dig on your property and there are underground lines located there, call before you dig. If you hit an underground power line, you could be seriously or fatally injured. You could also be liable for damages. So before digging or moving earth in any way, call the Cooperative at 1 800 392-0567 and call Missouri One Call at 1 800 DIG RITE to get the Cooperative’s and other underground lines located before you start.

Call 1 800 DIG RITE (Missouri One-Call)
Call 1 800 392-0567 (Ozark Border) Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Allow two working days to get the locates completed. 

Call Before You Dig

Missouri One-Call System protects against tragedy

 by Kevin Gunn

 We have all seen the news footage of the catastrophic damage that can be caused by natural gas explosions. Many of us have had our lives interrupted by hours or days without electric service. A ruptured water pipe not only means inconvenience for a neighborhood, but disaster when a fire truck cannot pump water from a hydrant.

 Every day in Missouri, we face the risk of each of these situations when an underground utility line is hit and damaged. The statistics — both state and national — are deeply concerning.

 In Missouri, a 2009 Public Service Commission study found that underground utility pipes, lines and cables of utilities regulated by the PSC were hit and damaged by excavation an average of 1,000 times per month.

 The magnitude of this problem increases when we consider that the PSC only regulates investor-owned utilities; municipal, public district and cooperative systems are not included in these statistics.

 Any strike or disturbance of an underground utility system is a serious matter, but natural gas lines are a special concern because of the risk of explosion. In Missouri, a PSC analysis over a five-year period found that underground gas lines are struck, on average, 200 times per month.

 Nationwide, the Common Ground Alliance — an industry group dedicated to preventing damage to underground utility infrastructure — determined that an underground utility line is hit and damaged every three minutes.

 With the increase in construction and home improvement activities that warm weather brings, a special emphasis is placed on reminding professional contractors and homeowners that contacting Missouri One Call before beginning any project that involves digging is not only a good idea — it’s also the law.

 Missourians have three simple, toll-free ways to have underground utility lines marked. They can call 811. They can call 1-800-DIG-RITE (1-800-344-7483). They can go online to http://mo1call.com. State law requires the call or request to be made three days before digging begins. The One Call center will contact utilities that have underground facilities in the digging area, and those lines will be marked with paint or flags.

 It’s important to remember that the law requires the 811 call be made before any digging project is undertaken. Whether a contractor is excavating a basement, or a homeowner is digging a hole to cement a mailbox post into the ground, the call must be made three days before digging begins.

Sadly, a recent national survey indicates that about 45 percent of homeowners with excavation projects will fail to make the call; almost 67 percent of those surveyed believed they will not hit an unmarked utility line and cause a service outage.

 Making that call can protect the homeowner, the family, the property and the neighborhood. It also will protect the homeowner against criminal and civil liability resulting from damage to an underground utility line.

 Calling 811, 1-800-DIG RITE or directing a web browser to http://mo1call.com is easy. And, once the lines are marked, please respect the marks and dig carefully around them.

 We can all do our part by calling before we dig, and by spreading the word that calling 811 or 1-800-DIG-RITE isn’t just a good idea in Missouri — it’s the law.

 Gunn is chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission, the state agency that regulates investor-owned utilities.