April is Kansas Safe Digging Month

By Trish Svoboda

Governor Laura Kelly has appointed April as Kansas Safe Digging Month. This declaration, in alignment with National Safe Digging Month, serves as a reminder for Kansans to dial 811 before initiating any outdoor excavation tasks. This includes both professional excavators and homeowners.

This is a preventive measure to avoid injuries, property destruction, and unwelcome service disruptions. According to the latest Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) from the Common Ground Alliance, a failure to call 811 before digging accounts for 25 percent of reported damages nationwide.

When calling, the relevant utility companies are alerted about the planned excavation. This service operates around the clock, seven days a week. Requests for location can also be submitted online at www.kansas811.com. It is mandatory for both excavators and homeowners to place a request a minimum of two business days before initiating a digging project. Professional locators are dispatched to the proposed excavation site to indicate the estimated positions of subterranean lines using flags or spray paint. Once the lines have been correctly marked, the digging process can begin.

Marking utility lines is a service provided free of charge. The depth of these utility lines can differ and a single area may contain multiple lines. Some of these utility lines are buried just a few inches beneath the surface, making them susceptible to being hit during shallow digging projects. Activities such as installing a mailbox, landscaping, erecting a fence, and constructing a deck are all examples of digging tasks that require a call to 811.

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