April is National Safe Digging Month: Simple Rules to Dig Safely

As you step outside for spring planting or yard clean-up, Black Hills Energy has numerous helpful tips to make sure your project is done safely for you and your neighbors as critical electric and natural gas power lines may be buried in the area where you’re working.


Simple rules for safe digging at home and for contractors:

·         Call 811 before you dig. This quick call will notify all utilities in your area of your plans to dig. You can also submit an online request. Make sure to do this at least two full business days before you dig. On average, seven utility operators are notified for each request.

·         Pre-mark where you plan to dig using white paint, stakes or flags. Marking the site will help utility locators understand your plans and reduce the chance of project delays if the locator must return to locate additional areas.

·         Respect the marks. Carefully hand dig with a shovel within the tolerance zone of 18 inches or greater depending on the pipe size rather than use heavy equipment.

·         Don’t rely on old line-locate marks. If you do not dig within 10 business days of having utility lines marked, contact Colorado 811 again. Line locators will return to remark the lines within two days at no charge.

“Whether you’re a homeowner planting a tree or a contractor using a backhoe, safety should always be the priority,” said Campbell Hawkins, vice president, Colorado Operations. “Any time of year, you must dig safely and always call before you dig. Buried utility lines may be out of sight but they should never be out of mind.”


Failure to comply with “Call Before You Dig” laws can result in civil penalties or the cost of expensive repairs to utilities and private property. More importantly, hitting an underground utility line can cause widespread service outages, or grave injury to everyone within a wide area.


If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally, or you smell the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas, immediately leave the area and first call 911 and then Black Hills Energy at 888-890-5554. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or create an open flame.


Visit blackhillsenergy.com/811 to learn more about 811 and safe digging practices. You can also follow Black Hills Energy on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube  and Twitter for safe digging resources.



About Black Hills Energy

Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) is a customer focused, growth-oriented utility company with a tradition of improving life with energy and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, the company serves 1.3 million natural gas and electric utility customers in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Additional information is available at blackhillscorp.com and blackhillsenergy.com.