Iowa Utilities Board reminds Iowans to be aware of underground utility infrastructure and always call 811 before digging

Written by Theresa Rose on April 2, 2015

(Des Moines) – April is National Safe Digging Month and the Iowa Utilities Board is joining with other state utility commissions, the Common Ground Alliance and Iowa One Call to emphasize how important it is for all professional excavators and residents in Iowa to always call 811 before starting any digging projects. Calling this toll-free number can save lives, protect utility infrastructure, and help prevent injuries, fines, and costly repairs.

On March 26, 2015, Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad supported safe digging practices by signing a proclamation proclaiming April 2015 as National Safe Digging Month.

Iowa law requires everyone to locate underground utilities before digging. Any person planning to engage in excavation or digging projects are required to provide notice to Iowa One Call at least 48 hours in advance, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. Dialing 811 is the most efficient way to reach the Iowa One Call notification Center, or online users can prepare and submit ‘locate’ requests on the Iowa One Call website. Calling 811 provides contractors and residents with free locating and marking of underground utility facilities, indicating where it is safe to dig. Iowa’s One Call Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to the Common Ground Alliance, a recent national survey revealed that 45 percent of American homeowners who plan to dig this year for projects like landscaping, installing a fence, or building a deck, pond or patio, will put themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 811 a few days beforehand to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.

Review changes to the Iowa One Call law or visit the Common Ground Iowa website to review educational videos and additional information. Common Ground Iowa is a regional partner of the national Common Ground Alliance, an association dedicated to ensuring public safety, environmental protection, and integrity of utility services by promoting effective damage protection practices.