Charlotte J. Cavell
Stay safe by knowing where underground utility lines are located in advance
Spring is here and so are extended daylight hours, floating butterflies and stinging bees, along with underground utility lines that your shovels can hit but your eyes can’t see. Since April is National Safe Digging Month, Entergy is reminding you to call 811 before digging into your spring-cleaning list.
The focus of Safe Digging Month is on preventing serious consequences that could occur from digging without knowing what’s below the surface – not only now, but year-round. Regardless of what you plan to do, how deep you plan to dig or even if you’ve called before for a similar project, every job requires a call first.
“It’s just as important to locate underground utilities as it is to keep your distance from overhead power lines,” said Melonie Stewart, Entergy’s vice president of customer service in Louisiana. “Whether you’re a homeowner, business owner or contractor, don’t chance it and assume there isn’t a utility line below. Avoid even close calls by dialing 811 before you dig – it’s the law.”
The depth of underground utility lines varies and there may be multiple utility lines in one common area. The risk of striking underground utility lines exists even when digging only a few inches.
Louisiana has its own 811 call center that can help you stay safe while digging. Call center representatives can advise you on how to submit requests to learn what utilities may be buried beneath the ground, such as natural gas pipelines, electric power lines and other services.
All utilities must respond within two business days, starting at 7 a.m. the day after you make the call to 811. Professional locators mark the approximate locations of underground lines at the requested digging site with flags, paint or both. Markings show the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences such as injury, service disruptions or costly fines and repair costs.
If you suspect utility damage of any kind, leave the area immediately and call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) or call 911. A gas leak could be occurring if you smell the distinctive natural gas odor, hear a hissing or whistling sound near a gas appliance or see dead vegetation or bubbles near a gas line.