Texas 8-1-1 warns public of "digging without calling"

Texas 8-1-1 warns public of "digging without calling"

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - You probably know that when things go wrong, you can call 9-1-1 for almost anything. But what you may not know is that before things go wrong on any kind of dig, you're supposed to call 8-1-1 to make sure you're not about to do something illegal.

You may recognize one of the different color flags from around your neighborhood or at a dig site.

But what you may not know is what each flag stands for and that they could be the difference between life or death.
The flags are planted by locators, who come to scout a location after someone calls 8-1-1. The option is not just for the big companies or city projects either, as anyone can, and should, call before they dig.

"If you're going to plant a tree, you're going to put a pool in the back yard, even put in maybe a sprinkler system or something like that," said Chairperson of the Permian Basin Damage Prevention Council, Larry Bass. "Those pipelines are not always deep in the ground. We've got pipelines that have been in the ground since the 30's and it may have been buried three foot deep to start with and erosion, now it's buried a foot deep."

To prove their point, Texas 8-1-1 hosted Permian Basin Safety Day at the Horseshoe Arena to show those who came just what one phone call can do.

Dialing 8-1-1 is not just about staying safe, it's also to make sure you're not doing anything illegal.

"By law, they need to call 8-1-1 48 hours before they dig and be able to give their contact information, location of the job and what they plan on doing," said Marcus Ogas, member relationship manager of Texas 8-1-1. "Then they need to wait the 48 hours and wait for the area to be marked before they begin excavation."

The example shown Friday was about a man dying, the most extreme case; but without a call someone could easily dig straight into a power line or knocking out cable for your neighborhood.

Texas 8-1-1 said they chose to show the ultimate dangers of not calling before you dig to drive their point home.

"Everybody has some reason to go home tonight," said Bass. "Whether it be wife, kids, husbands, mom, dad, whatever. Somebody is expecting them to come home. We want to try to raise the awareness so they can go home tonight."

You can find out more information on laws and statutes concerning Pipeline damage here.

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