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Calling Before You Dig Required Under Missouri Law

Gary & Anna Sattler

City Utilities wants homeowners and contractors to realize the importance of calling before you do any digging.

According to CU spokesman Joel Alexander, hitting an electrical or gas line can result in injury or even death, not to mention the inconvenience for possibly hundreds of people.  And he said Missouri law requires you to call before you dig.

When you call 811, the national call before you dig number, you’ll be connected to the Missouri One Call Center, which notifies the appropriate utility company of your intent to dig.  Professional locators are then sent to the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines. 

"The importance of having that service come out and look to locate the different utility services that are out there is really crucial to avoid creating an inconvenience for you,  a cost to make that repair, and it could avoid a very dangerous and even deadly situation," he said.

According to C.U., every six minutes, an underground utility line is damaged by someone who didn’t call 811 before digging.  

Alexander said there’s never a situation when it’s safe to dig without checking for buried utilities.

"Some of these communication lines, whether it be your phone line or your cable line, are buried just right beneath the sod a lot of times, so there's really not much of a safe depth you can really dig," he said.

Besides avoiding injury, there's a financial incentive for calling before digging:  According to Alexander, anyone who damages an underground utility without having called 811 is responsible for the cost to fix it.

Tethered balloon rides are being offered today (5/15) from 3:30 to 6:30 at Jordan Valley Park on the 811 Hot Air Balloon to encourage people to call before digging.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.