RICHMOND — April is National Safe Digging Month – dedicated
to bringing attention to the importance of calling 811 before beginning any digging
or demolishing project to avoid damaging underground utility lines.
Thousands of miles of underground utility lines provide our communities and businesses
with essential public services such as natural gas, electricity, telecommunications,
water and sewer. Preventing damage to these lines is a responsibility shared by
The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is responsible for enforcing Virginia’s Underground
Utility Damage Prevention Act. SCC Division of Utility and Railroad Safety’s Director
Massoud Tahamtani said, “When an underground utility line is damaged, there can
be far reaching consequences, such as serious injury, environmental damage, property
damage, economic loss, and service interruptions.” He added, “Damaging an underground
utility line may result in civil penalties and liability claims.”
Virginia has a nationally recognized damage prevention program. When properly followed,
it can help in preventing damage to underground utility lines. The program is summed
up in the message, “Dig With C.A.R.E. Keep Virginia Safe!” C.A.R.E. means:
Call Miss Utility at 811
before you dig.
Allow the required time
Respect and protect the
Calling 811 connects you to Miss Utility of Virginia, the state’s one-call notification
center which operates Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding legal state
and national holidays. Emergency notification service is available 365 days a year,
24 hours a day.
When Miss Utility receives a call concerning digging or a demolition, trained staff
will ask for important information about the planned work and then notify member
utility operators that may have underground utility lines in your project area.
Utility operators will respond by sending locators to your project area within the
time allowed by law to mark the approximate horizontal location on the ground within
2 feet of the underground utility lines by means of paint, stakes or flags. There
is no cost for this service. Once marked, hand digging is required within 24 inches
of these marks.
Please plan your digging or demolition project to avoid damage, disturbance or dislocation
to underground utility lines. Dig With C.A.R.E. Keep Virginia Safe!
To learn more about Virginia’s damage prevention program, contact the SCC Division
of Utility and Railroad Safety at (804) 371-9980, or visit the Division’s website