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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 26, 2012
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

National 8/11 Day serves to remind diggers to call 811 before they dig

PIERRE, S.D. – The 11th day of the eighth month is a good time to remember the importance of calling 811 before beginning any digging project, suggests the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and the South Dakota One Call Board. August 11, 8/11, is National 811 Day, a designation intended to help spread the message to call 811 before you dig.

When planning outdoor projects, residents should always consider the possibility that underground utilities could be directly below them. When an excavator calls 811 before they begin their project, they significantly reduce the risk of serious injury to themself and those around them as well as disruption of utility service. Excavators that hit an underground utility can be held financially responsible for any damages caused.
Projects as modest as planting a shrub or installing a mailbox all require calls to 811 at least 48 hours prior to digging. The possibility of striking a line still exists even when digging a short depth.

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman Chris Nelson further stressed the safety aspect of the 811 program. "Calling 811 is critical to the protection of the complex network of underground utilities, but it is also vital to remember that lives can be saved when 811 is called before digging," he said. "Every digging project—whether big or small—requires a call to 811."

"Call, wait and dig. It’s that simple," said Kurt Pfeifle, South Dakota One Call Board chairman. An excavator makes the free call to 811, gives the One Call representative the location details of their project and waits for the utility operators to be notified to mark any underground utilities at a project site," he said. "It’s fast, easy and can give people peace of mind when digging."

Even after utilities have been marked by utility operators, excavators are encouraged to always dig with care.

Visit for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.