Courtesy of Pepco

This April marks the 11th annual National Safe Digging Month, and Pepco reminds all customers and contractors to call 811 to have underground lines marked before digging.

Nationwide, every nine minutes there is damage to an underground utility line because of digging without first calling 811, according to the Common Ground Alliance, the national association that promotes the 811 phone number and safe digging practices.

Striking an underground electric or natural gas pipe can cause serious injury, damages and service interruptions. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects where a call to 811 should be one of the first steps.

Pepco has nearly 7,400 circuit miles of underground electric lines. Last year, more than 220 of Pepco’s underground electric lines were struck by preventable dig-ins, which could have been avoided by calling 811. Properly locating underground lines is essential to safely completing any digging job.

When calling 811 at least two business days prior to digging, customers and contractors are connected to the Maryland and Washington, D.C. One Call to provide information about their project. One Call will notify Atlantic City Electric and all member utilities of your plan to dig. The utilities will then mark their underground facilities.

Once lines are located, excavators also must understand the markings and look for evidence of unmarked lines, such as water and sewer lines on private property. Sewer clean-outs and water valve covers are examples of equipment that can indicate the presence of underground lines.

Pepco joins the Exelon family of companies in marking National Safe Digging Month and is a member of the Common Ground Alliance to share best practices to promote safe excavation and lower instances of damage to underground lines.

For more information on safe digging practices, go to

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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