The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. According to the Common Ground Alliance, an underground utility line is damaged during digging projects every three minutes nationwide.Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.2 million people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 30 states and parts of Canada.
With August 11 only a few days away, Pennsylvania American Water today reminded customers to call 8-1-1 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. The 8-1-1 phone number, used in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, helps consumers access a free service that will identify and mark invisible underground utilities, so that unnecessary outages in critical services can be avoided.
To help raise awareness of PA One Call, Pennsylvania American Water Production Supervisor George Cradic attaches "call before you dig" plate to company vehicle. (Photo: Pennsylvania American Water)By calling 8-1-1 three days before digging, homeowners and contractors will be connected to PA One Call, which then notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. “On August 11 and throughout the year, Pennsylvania American Water reminds customers and contractors to ‘dial before you dig’ and call 8-1-1 to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Steven Tambini, vice president of operations for Pennsylvania American Water. Tambini said striking a single line can lead to injuries, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are examples of digging projects that should prompt an 8-1-1 call. Visit the PA One Call website at www.pa811.org for more information about safe digging practices. “It’s a free call and a free service for homeowners – a great price for safety,” said Tambini.