Memorial Day Weekend Serves as a Convenient Reminder to Always Call 811 Before Digging

May 21, 2019

Alpine Communications reminds homeowners to call 811 by Tuesday/Wednesday to ensure all underground utilities are properly marked before breaking ground on their Memorial Day weekend digging project. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Iowa One Call, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint.

Brian Williams, Locating Technician

Brian Williams, Alpine’s locating technician, walks countless miles each year to locate underground facilities. “On an average, we receive more than 2,300 locate tickets each year from Iowa One Call. Some locates are short and easy to locate. However, last week I completed two long locates totaling nearly two miles of walking to complete the job,” said Brian. He is conscientious about ensuring his locates are accurate and clearly marked, even if it means working into the evening hours.

Every digging project, regardless of depth, warrants a call to Iowa One Call. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that should include a call to 811 before they begin.

When you contact Iowa One Call with a locate request, you will be asked a series of questions so it’s wise to gather the information in advance:

  • What is your name, address and phone number?
  • What type of work will you be doing? (i.e. planting a tree, installation of fence)
  • What is the dig location’s address, city, county and nearest intersecting street?
  • At the dig location, where will you be digging? (i.e. east side of house, within 5 ft radius of white stake.)
  • When will you be digging? (i.e. 3 days, next week)

The depth of utility lines can vary for several reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

Homeowners and farmers should also take extra precaution to avoid telephone pedestals and fiber markers on your property if you are burning ditches or mowing. Damage can disrupt service for you and/or your neighbors. Additionally, fiber-optic connections are very expensive to repair — often several thousand dollars or more.

“Since Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, we remind homeowners and contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Chris Hopp, Alpine Communications General Manager. “As residents plan for projects for the first long weekend of the year, we ask that 811 be an important part of their planning process.”

Visit for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.

Iowa One Call, 2018 Commercial

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