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Every year, underground utility lines in Michigan are damaged during digging activities because someone didn’t check first for the location of buried infrastructure.

April is Safe Digging Month and the Michigan Public Service Commission reminds everyone –from homeowners to construction crews — to make a free call to MISS DIG 811 before starting any outdoor digging project and have work areas marked for safety.

“April is the traditional start of construction and excavation season, whether it’s a homeowner putting in a fence post or a developer doing site work for a business expansion,” said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC. “We strongly encourage individuals and companies to call 811 before beginning any projects, no matter how small, to protect underground utility lines from being struck and potentially causing injuries or outages.”

A few days before starting an excavation project, make a free call to 811 or fill out a request online at (homeowners should click on “Request Service” and excavators should select “e-Locate.”) Trained workers from local utilities will be dispatched to a job site to mark the approximate locations of underground gas, electric, communications, water, or sewer lines using flags or spray paint. To be safe, do no start an outdoor project until public utility locations are marked, and carefully dig by hand in the designated areas.

“I would like to remind all Michiganders that as you move into spring and begin your excavation projects, contact MISS DIG 811 first. It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s the law,” said Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG System, Inc. “Keep yourself, your neighbors and underground utilities safe: Call MISS DIG 811 before you dig!”

Research by Common Ground Alliance, the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, found that 42 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year for DIY projects say they will not call 811 beforehand. That puts homeowners at risk of serious injury or even death if they strike underground lines and their communities at risk of losing utility service.

Go to for more information.