One of the most dangerous situations is accidental contact with underground electric power lines, natural gas lines, communication lines and other utility services.
Dial 811 “call before you dig.” It’s the law. That’s the message promoted by the Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC), the state agency that provides a one-call service to contractors, excavators and homeowners to let them know what they may encounter underground.
To ensure you’re working safely, call 811. There’s no charge for the service, and the call is free. Calling before you dig can not only save you money from a damage claim, it can also save your life.
You must call 48 business hours before starting work and give the exact street or other location information. After you call each affected utility is notified and will send employees to locate underground lines near the project with color-coded paint that identifies what kind of utility is underground.
Call 811 before planting trees or setting fence posts which have been known to cause injuries, damage electric, telephone, gas and other utility lines. There have been cases of electrocution and severe injuries caused by damage to electric lines. Also loss of service and property due to water or gas line ruptures, or possibly worse.
Recognizing the complexity of the underground network and its safety implications, the 1995 Oregon Legislature created a new state agency to establish a single, statewide, non-profit center, and reiterated the legal requirement to call before you dig.
The new law includes fines and penalties for failure to call before digging. Violators can also be liable for repair costs for damage resulting from non-compliance with the law’s requirements.
The Oregon Utility Notification Center, located in Portland, will take locate requests 24 hours/day, seven days a week. For more information please visit the 811 Website.