Springfield, IL – April is National Safe Digging Month. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is reminding homeowners and excavators to call 811 before beginning any outdoor project that requires digging.
“As you plan your home and garden digging projects this Spring, to avoid hitting any utility lines, please call 811 to have them marked before you start. This is a free service, but you must call,” said ICC Chairman Carrie Zalewski.
Illinois law requires residents and professional excavators to call 811 at least 48 hours or two working days prior to starting the excavation. Whether you plan to plant a tree, install a mailbox, plant a garden, or build a deck – regardless of the depth and size of the project you must call 811. The project must begin within 14 calendar days from the call, and locate requests have a 28-day life.
The State One-Call Center, managed by JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) and DIGGER within the City of Chicago, is a twenty-four-hour service network system established to prevent contractors and private citizens from hitting any existing utility lines when digging.
In 2020, ICC staff issued 82 warnings and 219 citations for safe digging violations resulting in $709,590 penalties. Violations issued to excavators and homeowners included not having a valid locate request, or not digging carefully around marked underground facilities, and for utilities, failure to mark their facilities in a timely manner. The ICC levied penalties as part of its One-Call enforcement efforts.
In consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners and excavators are reminded to follow CDC guidelines when interacting with one another by practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. You might also consider postponing any non-essential projects until the public health emergency has passed.