April is National Safe Digging Month, and Black Hills Energy reminds us that when planning an excavation of any size, a call to 811 two or more days before digging is required so that underground utility lines can be marked. It’s a free service and required by law, whether you’re a homeowner using a shovel to plant a tree, or a contractor using a backhoe to dig a trench.
Colorado law requires that anyone planning to dig must first call 811 or visit co811.org to request the free service. If a project calls for multiple excavators, each must call 811 to request that lines be located, even if another company already has. Regardless the size of the project, non-compliance with the law carries serious penalties. While natural gas is a safe and reliable form of energy, striking an underground utility line can cause costly damage to public or private property, result in a severe or fatal injury, and disrupt service to a home, neighborhood or entire community. Black Hills Energy maintains 3,000 miles of underground natural gas lines for its Colorado customers. “We’ve invested approximately $29 million in our Colorado natural gas distribution system since 2008 to maintain system integrity,” said Susan Bailey, general manager for Black Hills Energy-Colorado Gas. “The safety of our customers and employees is always our first concern. Underground utility lines may be out of site, but they should never be out of mind.” In Colorado , a call to 811 or an online request at co811.org alerts Colorado811 to contact Black Hills Energy and other utility companies to mark all underground utilities at the excavation site for free. Utility specialists visit the site and use color-coded paint or flags to indicate underground lines. Yellow paint or flags, for example, mark lines carrying natural gas, steam, petroleum or other gaseous materials. “Be safe and ensure the safety of everyone around you by calling 811 before you dig,” Bailey said. “It’s free, it’s easy and it’s the law.” Black Hills Energy