No matter where you live in the United States, odds are that there’s an underground utility line positioned nearby. They are under the ground that you live, work, drive and play on. There are two key strategies for safely working around these underground utilities: calling 811 before you dig and using vacuum excavation trucks.

When you think about underground utilities, gas and electric lines are most likely to come to mind, but water and sewer lines also lay below the surface. In some parts of the country, even the lines used to communicate with our loved ones are buried underground. If you add the length of all these underground lines together, you’d have more than 20 million miles of lines. That’s the equivalent of a football field of lines for every man, woman and child in the United States.

Digging without marking utility lines is dangerous and puts the electric, gas and phone lines of your community at risk. According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a utility line is damaged every six minutes in the US. If you’re an average reader, that means at least one will be damaged by the time you finish reading this article.

Striking an underground line at best can cause costly repairs and at worst, deadly outcomes. When gas lines are disrupted, the damages can cause explosions that put anyone in the vicinity at grave risk.

The best way to avoid these mistakes is to prepare before you dig.

Call Before You Dig

Calling 811 is the easiest way to ensure you keep your community connected and safe. Making the call before digging reduces your risk of striking a buried utility line to less than 1%.

Call 811 a few days before digging. Your call will be routed to your local call center. You’ll tell the operator where you’re planning to dig and the type of work you’re doing. Next, utility companies with facilities in the area will receive notification of your intent to dig. Those companies will then send a locator to mark the locations of your underground utility lines within two to three working days. Respect the marks and dig carefully around them to avoid damaging underground utilities.

Vacuum Excavation Trucks Decrease Risk

TRUVAC FLXX hydrovac excavation truck

Choosing vacuum excavation trucks for your job is another way to avoid disrupting underground utilities. Our TRUVAC vacuum excavation trucks are non-mechanical, non-destructive, minimally disruptive and precise excavators that allow you to safely visually locate underground utilities.

When you use a vacuum excavator, you get 100% visual verification of underground utilities. This advantage first and foremost protects the people on your team and in your community. It also protects infrastructure, increases productivity in tolerance zones and can identify unmarked buried infrastructure.

See the our units in action for yourself and learn more about how vacuum excavation can protect underground utilities and your community. Contact Haaker Underground to schedule your free demo today!