Digging dangers this spring

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) –  Now that the weather is getting nicer, many of us will start outdoor projects, but there are hidden dangers underground.

According to Columbia Gas, about 30 percent of all utility line damage is from people not calling to have the lines marked. A simple and free call can save you time, money and could prevent injury.

Colorful flags flap in the wind on this Springfield lawn. They act as a guide to wires and lines hidden underground. Red, yellow and orange mark where the cable, phone, electric and gas lines lie.

Mike Johnson Columbia Gas of Ohio says, “A lot of home owners believe this is just for excavators, but this is for everyone and anyone who is digging needs to call 811.”

Mike Johnson is a damage prevention coordinator with Columbia Gas. He says a simple call to 811 before you start doing any digging in your yard can save you in the long run. It’s extremely difficult to pin point where exactly all of the utility lines are located or how deep they are just by looking at the grassy surface.

“I’ve seen lines buried below the sod line and a few feet deep. There’s no rule on how deep they should be.  Even a simple project like building a deck could result in an accident,” Johnson says.

The call is free but must be done 48 hours before digging begins. One small call can prevent bigger problems.

“The biggest danger is being injured or hit a gas line there could be a fire or explosion. If you hit an electric line you could get electrocuted or you can lose service,” Johnson.

The average cost to repair a damaged line is about 15 hundred dollars. This includes the repair and the charge of the gas that escaped during the damage.

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