Thursday, April 11, 2019

811 Demystified

Every time you have a project that requires digging on your property you have to call 811 first. It is mandated in every state in the U.S. It's a free service meant to ensure safety and prevent disruption of utility service. 

In short, calling 811 is free and it's the law. 

Still, more than 40% of Americans with plans to dig on their property this year WILL NOT call 811 first. 

Why? It is so very, very easy. We spoke to a (super friendly) Tennessee 811 operator and she helped de-mystify the whole process. 

Here's what you do: 

STEP 1: You must contact 811 at least three business days before you begin your project. You have three options. 
#1. Call 811. The call center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
#2. Use the mobile app. There's a TN811 mobile app for Android and iPhone. 
#3. Submit your request online here: online request.
811 takes it from there. They notify utility companies about your project, utilities send a crew to mark the underground lines on your property. 

STEP 2: Once lines are located the utilities input a "positive response" under your ticket number. Use the 811 app or website to confirm the status of your request. Here's what you'll want to look for: 

You can tell by the partial view of this ticket that all utilities provided a positive response. Either the site was "clear - no conflict" meaning there were no lines to mark, or, all underground lines were "located" and marked by the utility crews. 

**Your e-ticket also provides the date work can begin and the expiration date. In Tennessee, 811 markings are good for 15 calendar days.

Each color marking indicates a different service; there are eight total. MLGW locates and marks: red for electrical, yellow for gas and blue for drinking water. Other services are marked with other colors. 

STEP 3: Respect the markings and steer clear. In Tennessee you must observe a safety zone around each marked location. That zone is the width of the underground line plus two feet on either side. For your own sake, pay attention to it!

  • Locating and marking lines is not an exact science.
  • Pipelines may not follow a straight path from one location mark to another. 
  • There is no indication of how deeply a line is buried. 

STEP 4: Dig! The operator we talked to at TN811 suggested starting slowly, with hand tools, just in case. Make sure you are well clear of the safety zone before you really start Hitting a buried line can be hazardous or deadly. 

Do you really need to call 811? YES. If you're digging a flower bed, call 811. You have a contractor doing the work, call 811 or make sure HE calls 811. For more FAQs and information visit the Tennessee 811 website or reach out to them over the phone. They are well-informed and uber-friendly. You will be glad to talk to them. 

#call811 #MLGW #ServingYouIsWhatWeDo


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