Citing the importance to public safety and local businesses, Public Service Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh issued a reminder that anyone needing to dig on their property should call 811 before doing so.
Cavanaugh told Yellowhammer News that digging into buried utility lines can interrupt service and lead to a whole host of unforeseen problems.
“Before anyone decides to dig on their property, they should call 811 to find out if there are any buried lines delivering utility services in their area,” she stated. “Our state has enjoyed a great stretch for the construction industry and people willing to invest in developing their property, but this is one aspect of the process which is vital.”
Alabama 811 is a non-profit organization which serves as the link between property owners, the construction industry and underground utility owners. The mission of the organization is to provide the location of buried utility lines to reduce damage to Alabama’s infrastructure.
A simple phone call or visit to the organization’s website can help avoid some severe problems, according to Cavanaugh.
“I was reminded by a member of our staff about an incident that occurred a few years ago when someone failed to call 811 before digging and the area’s entire 911 emergency response system went down,” she recalled. “It turned into a very serious situation and one which could have easily been avoided.”
There can be fallout to area businesses, as well.
“Imagine being a business where the phone lines and internet do not work,” she offered. “When that happens your business can’t run credit cards or take orders online. The 811 system is set up to help prevent harm to our small businesses.”
All underground facility owners in Alabama are expected to be participating in the 811 program by the end of 2021. There are currently 500 participating facility owners.
In 2020, the organization took more than 580,000 locate requests.
“I would urge everyone, no matter how small or how large your project, to call 811 before digging,” Cavanaugh concluded. “Public safety, jobs and quality of life for Alabamians all depend on the service.”
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia