Government, Industry Officials Launch National 'Call Before You Dig' Number

AT a press conference on May 1, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) along with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, the Federal Communications Commission and others launched the new national "Call Before You Dig" number.

"Now that there is a single number to call, any time, there's no excuse for putting lives at risk by striking a utility line," Peters said. "If 911 is the number you call to report emergencies, 811 is the number to call to prevent them."

The 811 number was designated by the FCC in 2005,and its creation was supported by more than 15 industry stakeholder groups that now promote its use nationwide.

The press conference also was the kick-off of a national public education campaign that will use a Web site (http://www.call811.com), television and radio PSAs, industry and consumer outreach, and local events to raise awareness of the new number and demonstrate its relevance to consumers and professionals who conduct digging activities.

"Knowing the approximate locations of where utility lines are buried before each digging project helps protect America's pipelines, industry and people," said CGA President Bob Kipp. "We believe the new 811 number will encourage more people to have their lines marked to protect themselves, their neighbors and their community."

Nationwide, risky assumptions about the location of underground utility lines, which are buried at various depths below the ground, lead to more than one unintentional hit per minute every day, every year. Even simple digging jobs can damage utility lines and disrupt vital services to an entire neighborhood, harm those who dig, and result in expensive fines and repair costs.

For more information about the 811 service and a new national survey on consumer digging habits, visit http://www.call811.com.

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