Call before you dig

Today is 8-11, the perfect time to remind Florida’s homeowners to always call 811 before digging to have buried utility lines marked free of charge. Even projects such as landscaping, installing a fence or deck, or even replacing a mailbox require the call.

Unfortunately, homeowners sometimes don’t call 811. But, did you know that the location of your mailbox, fence, shrubs and irrigation system are in areas likely to contain underground utility lines such as along streets, rights of way, and property lines?

Take it from me. Not calling 811 can mean an unwelcome surprise to you, your family or neighbors! One balmy, summer day, a neighbor was pulling out a tree. Wrapped around its roots were electric and phone lines. You guessed it. This simple home improvement project knocked out the entire neighborhood’s electric and phone service. It’s a good thing no one had an emergency.

Here are the specifics: Call 811 two full business days before digging. (Call Wednesday if you want to dig Saturday.) Sunshine State One Call answers the call and notifies affected utility companies. Utilities send locators to mark any lines in your yard with paint and flags. Red paint or flags means an electric line is buried within 24 inches. Green is for sewer; orange for communication; blue for potable water; yellow for gas, oil and steam; purple for reclaimed water.

One final reason to call 811 before you dig – it’s the law! Visit for more information on this free service.

Wendy Schaefer


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