DIY or major construction: It’s important to call before you dig

The dangers of digging underground without marking utility lines, who you should call before starting your home improvement projects

An omnibus survey conducted by Common Ground Alliance (CGA) in March 2022 found that 49% of homeowners who planned to dig this year did not intend to contact 811 to have underground utility lines marked beforehand.

Striking a single utility line can cause injury and inconvenient outages and yield fines and repair costs. Every few minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811.

Contacting 811 by phone or online connects homeowners and contractors to their local 811 center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies. Then you must wait the required amount of time – usually a few days, depending on the state – for utilities to send out professional locators to visit the dig site and mark the locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

On Thursday (811 Day), Sarah Magruder Lyle, President and CEO of CGA, appeared on KPRC 2+ to talk about the importance of contacting 811 before digging underground. She also discussed the dangers of striking a utility line and the costs of these damages.

For her insights, watch the video at the top of the page.

You can stream KPRC 2+ weekdays at 7 a.m. on and on the KPRC 2 app.