JACKSON, MISSOURI--(Marketwired - April 1, 2014) - Spring is here, which means it's time to dust off the power tools and begin those outdoor projects. Before digging in the yard, Liberty Utilities reminds Missouri residents to play it safe and call 811 to have all buried utility lines marked - for free. Unfortunately, it's a law many homeowners ignore when planning projects that require a hole in the ground, such as installing a mailbox, putting up a fence or planting a tree.
According to data collected by the Common Ground Alliance, more than half of American homeowners will not make a free call to 811 before digging. The survey also shows that homeowners are aware of underground infrastructure; 67 percent recognize that paint and flags mark buried utilities, yet calling 811 remains a low priority.
"Studies show that careless digging damages an underground utility line every three minutes in the United States," said David Swain, president, Liberty Utilities Mid-States. "While hitting a natural gas pipeline is extremely dangerous, it's also 100 percent preventable. I encourage anyone who is thinking about starting a digging or construction project to call 811 and visit libertyutilities.com to find out more about how to dig safely."
Liberty Utilities has developed a number of guidelines to help residents and construction personnel prepare for digging on their properties while undertaking yard, construction and landscaping projects. The guidelines, available online at libertyutilities.com/central and by calling 811, include ways to avoid gas lines and what safety measures to take if there is ever the smell of gas.
As National Safe Digging Month kicks off, Liberty Utilities is encouraging residents to follow the "C.A.R.E." model to prevent potentially harmful pipeline incidents:
C - Call 811 before you dig. Underground utilities exist everywhere. Residents are obligated by law to dial 811 toll-free to have all underground lines and utilities located at no cost before putting a shovel in the ground.
A - Allow required state time for marking. Missouri law dictates that officials have to be notified three working days before digging begins. Coordinating well in advance protects property value, avoids costly repairs, and prevents unnecessary accidents and mishaps.
R - Respect markings. Following calls, Liberty Utilities will locate and clearly mark underground pipelines to guide safe dig zones.
E - Excavate carefully. Residents are asked to ensure all markings have been made in the planned excavation zone, then hand dig inside any of these tolerance zones. Any exposed pipelines should then be barricaded.
About Liberty Utilities
Liberty Utilities is a regulated water, natural gas and electric transmission and distribution utility, delivering responsive and reliable essential services to nearly half a million customers across the United States. With a local approach to management, service and support, we deliver efficient, dependable services to meet the needs of our customers. Liberty Utilities provides a superior customer experience through walk-in customer centers, locally focused conservation and energy efficiency initiatives, and programs for businesses and residential customers. We measure our performance in terms of service reliability, an enjoyable customer experience and an unwavering dedication to public and workplace safety. Liberty Utilities currently operates in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire and Texas. For more information, please visit www.LibertyUtilities.com.