With more people at home during the COVID-19 health crisis it is essential to call 811 before digging
April is National Safe Digging Month, and BGE is joining Miss Utility 811 – the one-call notification center for Maryland – to remind homeowners and contractors that safe digging must remain a priority to prevent damage to critical utility services and keep communities safe.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has homeowners spending more time than ever at home potentially engaged in home improvement activities requiring digging, it is imperative that underground utilities be marked before any digging takes place. Calling 811 or placing an online request before digging is free of charge and will help residents avoid accidentally damaging buried utility lines.
Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. For example:
- Planting new rose bushes? Call 811.
- Putting in a new mailbox? Call 811.
- Building a deck? Call 811.
- Installing a flag pole? Call 811.
BGE has more than 17,000 circuit miles of underground electric lines — 65 percent of the electric distribution system. Additionally, there are nearly 14,000 miles of BGE natural gas distribution and service lines throughout central Maryland. In addition to BGE’s lines, there are underground communications cables, water and sewer lines, and other utilities.
When calling 811, customers and contractors are connected to Miss Utility, the local one-call center, which notifies BGE and other utilities of the intent to dig at a location. The utilities’ professional locators then mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both at digging sites. Once lines are located, customers and contractors 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. After lines are marked, customers and contractors must proceed carefully. Hand dig with caution and never use mechanized equipment near marked utilities.
For information on digging safely, including how to get lines marked and what to do after lines are marked visit www.bge.com/811, or contact the BGE Damage Prevention team at 410.470.6698 to arrange for free damage prevention training. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and impact our community, we want to reaffirm with you our commitment to the safety and well-being of our customers, employees, and contractors. Safety is our top priority. We have implemented important procedures to prioritize the health of our community. All BGE employees and contractors have been instructed to follow health and safety best practices consistent with CDC guidelines including but not limited to practicing safe social distancing.