April Brings National Safe Digging Month

East Syracuse, N.Y. – With the start of April, warmer weather is almost here, which means more time outside and the beginning of outdoor projects. As homeowners and contractors plan for those projects, April’s designation as National Safe Digging Month is a reminder Dig Safely New York uses to ensure safe digging best practices.

According to a study done by Axiom, 86% more homeowners will be working on outdoor projects this year.  Combined with the typical acceleration of outdoor construction projects beginning in Spring, the need for safe digging is essential.  A 2019 Dirt Report from the Common Ground Alliance included more than 532,000 incidents of damage to underground utilities due to excavation error, with costs of more than $30 billion due to facility repair, property damage and medical bills.  Incidents in which gas or electrical lines are ruptured can also lead to major injury and death. Failure to notify 811 remains the number one contributing factor to incidents resulting in underground utility damage.

Dig Safely New York, the first one-call center of its kind in the nation, serves 55 counties in Upstate New York and is the 24/7/365 connection between project coordinators and public utilities. The homeowner or contractor can contact Dig Safely New York, either by phone via dialing 8-1-1 or through its online Location Request platform Exactix, which can be found at my.digsafelynewyork.com.  Once the location request for the dig project is submitted, Dig Safely New York will contact all utilities that have underground facilities located on the property.  The various utilities will then visit the site and properly mark all underground lines and pipes within the project area.  All homeowners and contractors have to do is wait two full business days, not including the day they called, for utilities to respond. They should also note that their location request will expire 10 days from their designated start date.

While contractors and excavators are likely aware of the process, homeowners may not know that routine digging related to projects such as swimming pool installation, tree planting, or fence post digging could require the marking of underground facilities to prevent potential injury or damage. 

Here's a simple way to remember the one-call process when preplanning all of your digging projects:

1. PRE-MARK: Mark the project area with white spray paint to indicate to locators where you plan to dig.

2. NOTIFY: Notify 811 online with Exactix or by calling 811.

3. WAIT: At least two days for utilities to respond (not including the day you notify).

4. CONFIRM: Check that all utilities have responded.

5. RESPECT: Adhere to utility marks and flags.

6. DIG WITH CAUTION: Dig carefully around buried utilities. Following the steps above will help keep you, your family and your community out of harm’s way.

To learn more about steps you should take before starting your outdoor project, visit www.DigSafelyNewYork.com/Homeowner.

Media Contact: Devin Negrete

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