Call 811 Before You Dig

Jun 08, 2021

How many times have any of you heard that? Or maybe you have not? If you do not do any digging on your property (or anyone else’s) besides planting flowers or a garden, you probably have not paid attention. For FCA and any other utility providers, this is a way of life.

What is 811? It is a toll-free number that allows you to get underground utilities, water and sewer lines, and about anything else located so that anyone digging knows where they are so as not to disturb them. Anyone can call 811 and get a locate done. All you need to know is the physical address, where on the property needs to be located, and who owns the lines. It is very important to do this before it is too late as there are power lines, phone or fiber optic, propane or natural gas, and water and sewer lines buried at any point on your property.

Some very important things to keep in mind:

  • Not all utilities are owned by the same company. For example, in Britton, water lines are owned by the city, power is Ottertail, phone and fiber are Venture, and propane if you have it is FCA. All companies need to be notified separately. When you call 811, they should have a list of companies in your area for you to call. If there is a company that is not listed, it is the property owners’ responsibility to notify them.

  • Power companies generally only locate to your meter. If you live in town, your meter is usually on your house or business. If you live in the country, your meter will probably be on a pole in the middle of your yard, and you may have more than one meter. Anything beyond the meter is YOUR responsibility.

  • Calling 811 before you dig is the law. There are no fines associated with this law that I am aware of, but keep in mind if you cut or dig through a line, repairing it will be on your dime. This can be as little as a few hundred dollars or as high as several thousand dollars.

  • Most importantly: SAFETY. Getting electrocuted digging through power or causing an explosion digging through a gas line are completely preventable.

Brian Beck
Energy Department Manager/Safety Coordinator

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