IOWA NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION
Iowa One Call Works to Keep Iowans Safe
Reminds residents to “call before you dig” to protect themselves and avoid damaging underground utility lines
DES MOINES, Iowa (April 11, 2013) – After being cooped up all winter long, most Iowans cannot wait for spring weather to start outdoor digging projects. Iowa One Call wants to remind Iowans to have buried utility lines located before they dig. There are thousands of miles of underground utility lines essential to our community infrastructure that can become damaged if hit with a shovel or excavation equipment.
“We tend to forget that many of the essentials to our daily living are conveyed via an invisible infrastructure, buried beneath our feet,” said Ben Booth, Manager of Public Relations/Communications for Iowa One Call. “Electricity, natural gas, communication lines and water and sewer services are all essential infrastructure that could be interrupted if someone decides to dig without first having an underground facility locating service mark their yard for free.”
Iowa One Call manages a system that allows homeowners or contractors to arrange free locating services anywhere across the state. Residents and professional excavators can call 811 toll free or visit DigSafeWait48.com to fill out a locate request called an iTic and arrange for someone to come out and locate the buried utility lines. All requests for locates must be made to Iowa One Call at least 48-hours prior to beginning any digging or excavating (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays).
“Failure to make the required notice to Iowa One Call could result in some very serious consequences,” said Booth. “Damaging underground facilities can impact the wellbeing of Iowans by disrupting essential services, causing large-scale service outages and even worse, by putting people in harm’s way. Fortunately, Iowa has one of the lowest reported dig in (digging-related damage) rates (1.6 percent) in the country, but Iowa One Call is in the business to help get that number to zero.”
Last year, nearly 500,000 requests were made for location services in Iowa. Of those requests, only 11 percent were from homeowners, a number that the Iowa One Call campaign wants to see grow.
It’s important that homeowners understand their role in protecting Iowa’s vital underground facilities infrastructure. This is one of the reasons why Iowa One Call teamed up with Common Ground Iowa (CGI) and Governor Branstad on April 11th to declare April as Safe Digging month in Iowa.
Professional excavators are very aware that, by law, they have to arrange locating services before digging, but most homeowners don’t realize they are also required by law to locate underground infrastructure before planting trees or building a deck, for example.
“The free locating service can also help homeowners and professional excavators avoid large fines and utility service charges for repairing damaged facilities,” said Booth. “If there aren’t any flags, or colored paint markings in your yard, you shouldn’t be digging.”
Residents should call 811 and talk to a representative or go online at DigSafeWait48.com and fill out an iTic to schedule the free service. Once completed, the appropriate locating service is contacted for that area. Professionals will come out and mark the yard or project site within 48 hours, not including Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays. Once the required 48-hour timeline has expired, homeowners or contractors can begin digging.
In today’s society we want things to happen nearly instantly, so waiting 48 hours for a free location service may seem like forever. But, hitting an underground facility can result in far greater consequences, the least of which might be even longer waiting periods. For more information about how you can dig safe, visit the Iowa One Call website.
Editor’s Note: The information in this news release is accurate per Iowa Law (Chapter 480, Iowa Code). Please use this exact language to prevent any misinterpretation of the law. Please call us if you have any questions regarding this law. Thank you.
About Iowa One Call
Iowa One Call provides contractors, homeowners, and others who may be excavating, digging or trenching with a single toll-free number to call for locating and marking underground facilities. The toll-free Iowa One Call abbreviated number is 811. Callers may also dial 1-800-292-8989. Iowa One Call representatives handle more than 400,000 calls and coordinate more than two million locate requests per year in communities throughout Iowa. The service provided by Iowa One Call is free of charge, as is the phone call. The cost is paid in full by participating underground facility operators. Iowa One Call is neither a utility nor a locating service and it does not own facilities nor does it locate underground facilities. To learn more about Iowa One Call, go to http://www.iowaonecall.com or http://digsafewait48.com.
About Common Ground Iowa
Common Ground Iowa (CGI), a Regional Partner of the national organization Common Ground Alliance (CGA), is a member-driven non-profit organization under 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. CGI works with all stakeholders to produce stronger, more effective results through partnership, collaboration, and the pursuit of common goals in damage prevention. The purpose of the CGI is to prevent damage to underground infrastructure through education to foster a shared sense of responsibility for the protection of underground facilities. To accomplish this goal, CGI utilizes Common Ground Alliance’s Best Practices for advancing underground utility safety in Iowa. To learn more about CGI, visit http://commongroundiowa.com or call (515) 725-7338
Ben Booth, the Public Relations/Communications Manager at Iowa One Call, is available for interviews. Please call 515-278-8700 (office) or 515-707-3998 (cell) to schedule.
(CONTACT: Ben Booth, Iowa One Call (515) 278-8700 (515) 707 3998 cell firstname.lastname@example.org)