Alliant Energy: Reminds Wisconsin residents on 8-11 to call 811 before digging

Media Contact: Scott Reigstad (608) 458-3145

Alliant Energy encourages residents to call 72 hours before digging to know what’s below

MADISON, Wis. – August 10, 2012 – With August 11 almost here, Alliant Energy hopes this date on the calendar, 8/11, will serve as a natural reminder for everyone to call 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. Every year, thousands of incidents happen in Wisconsin where someone digs into a buried natural gas line or other underground utility service like electrical lines and fiber optic lines.

“On August 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Richard Sublett, senior manager compliance and operational performance for Alliant Energy. “It really is the only way to know what utilities are buried in your area.”

When calling 811, customers are connected to Diggers Hotline, which notifies the appropriate utility companies so professional locators can go to the digging site and mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint, or both.

Striking a line can result in injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages to the person digging, and their neighbors. 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 that require a call to 811 before starting. A national report recently found that small fencing, irrigation and landscaping contractors were most often involved in incidents resulting from a failure to call 811 before digging.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

When digging, stay at least 18 inches away from the marked lines. Carefully hand dig if within this tolerance zone. Distance requirements vary by state, so ask for guidelines when calling 811.

Visit for more information about 811 and safe digging practices, you can also view a special video produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation, “Avoid a Grimm Situation.”