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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, August 6, 2013        
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

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

Pierre, S.D. – National 8/11 Day, August 11, is an important day to remind residents to call 811, advocates the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and the South Dakota One Call Board. Calling 811 prior to beginning any digging project can protect lives and critical underground utilities.

Utility services such as gas, electricity, water and telephone are vital infrastructure within a community. When an excavator strikes one of these lines, the result may lead to significant disruption of services, or worse yet, harm to themself or others. Additionally, they may be held financially responsible for any damage caused. Those who call 811 prior to starting a project can significantly reduce these occurrences. 

A call to 811 is required at least 48 hours prior to all digging projects, no matter the size. The possibility of striking underground utilities exists even with smaller activities such as building a patio or deck or installing a fence or mailbox post.

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairperson Gary Hanson emphasized the importance of calling 811. "Not only does calling 811 maintain reliable access to critical services, but doing so can prevent injury or loss of life," he said. "It cannot be stated enough: every digging project must begin with a call to 811."

South Dakota One Call Board Chairman Erin Hayes added, "Simply put, excavators need to make this call. It’s fast, easy and free. One Call representatives will ask for the details on a project and provide these to utility operators, who will then mark underground utilities at the project site."

Even after utility operators have marked existing underground utilities, excavators are encouraged to dig with care.

Fair-goers visiting the PUC booth at the Brown County Fair, Aug. 13-18, in Aberdeen and the South Dakota State Fair, Aug. 29–Sept. 2, in Huron will have the opportunity to make the "811 Promise" and register for a chance to win prizes.

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