BGE Marks 10th Annual National Safe Digging Month
4/21/2017, 6 a.m.
BALTIMORE This April marks the 10th annual National Safe Digging Month and BGE reminds all customers and contractors to call 811 to have utility-owned underground lines marked before digging. Nationwide, every six minutes there is damage to an underground utility line because of digging without first calling 811, according to the Common Ground Alliance, the national association that promotes the 811 phone number and safe digging practices. CGA also reports that damages to underground lines have been reduced by 54 percent since the inception of National Safe Digging Month.
Striking an underground electric or natural gas pipe can cause serious injury, damages and service interruptions. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811.
Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects where a call to 811 should be one of the first steps.
BGE manages nearly 16,000 circuit miles of underground electric lines and more than 7,000 miles of buried natural gas lines in its region, many of which may cross through residential properties. Properly locating these lines is essential to safely completing a digging job. In addition to BGE’s lines, there are underground communications cables, water and sewer lines, and other utilities.
When calling 811, customers and contractors are connected to Miss Utility to provide information about their project. Miss Utility will notify BGE and all member utilities of your plan to dig. The utilities will then mark their underground facilities. In some cases, Maryland law requires a call at least two business days in advance of digging.
Once lines are located, excavators also must understand the markings and look for evidence of unmarked lines, such as water and sewer lines on private property. Sewer clean-outs and water valve covers are examples of equipment that can indicate the presence of underground lines.
BGE joins the Exelon family of utilities in marking National Safe Digging Month, and is a member of the Common Ground Alliance to share best practices to promote safe excavation and lower instances of damage to underground lines.
For information on digging safely, including how to get lines marked and what to do after lines are marked, watch BGE’s Dig Smart video. Excavators can also contact the BGE Damage Prevention team at 410-470-6698 to arrange for free damage prevention training. To learn more visit www.bge.com/811.