Angie's List: Call 811 before you dig - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Angie's List: Call 811 before you dig

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(WKOW) -- If you're planning a project in your yard, our Angie's List Report explains before you dig, you first need to dial.

“Every six minutes, a utility line is damaged in the United States, and you really don’t think about it unless it happens to you. Unless you’re the guy on Super Bowl Sunday who can’t watch the game. Unless it’s 110 degrees outside and you have no power,”  says Khrysanne Kerr, with Common Ground Alliance. 

“It’s surprising how many people forget to have utilities marked if they’re going to be digging in their yard. It simply requires dialing 8-1-1 and allowing three days to have the company come out and mark your utilities,” says Angie Hicks, Founder of Angie's List. 

A recent survey says nearly half of all American homeowners are planning an outdoor project this year, but many of them have no plans to call 8-1-1 first, exposing themselves to injury, liability and hefty fines.

“By notifying that utility, they will come out and mark the approximate location with paint or flags and therefore you can stay away from your buried electric lines, your natural gas line or that fiber optic line or telecommunications line that’s going to keep you away from Facebook,” says Kerr.

“Even if you’re hiring someone to put that new patio in or build a fence for you, you still want to make sure that they’re having the utilities marked, and if they’re not, don’t let them dig until they are marked,” says Hicks. 

It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or out in the country, you need to call before you dig.

“A lot of times, major transportation pipelines are buried in those rural areas because no one would be digging around them. It’s safe for a community. So whether it’s rural or urban, make that call to 8-1-1,” says Kerr.  "Not making the call can cost you everything, but making the call costs you nothing.”

Experts say digging accidents cause tens of thousands of service disruptions and dozens of injuries each year. Calling 8-1-1 first will help you avoid that. It’s a free call and available 24/7. You can also go online to get your utilities marked – just visit

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