Wednesday marked the beginning of summer, outdoor digging and construction
projects are in full swing, and to help you stay safe, NIPSCO is encouraging
customers, businesses, and local communities to use the Indiana 811
call-before-you-dig phone number two days before starting any digging
This number is toll-free and there is no cost to have underground utility
lines marked for those who are planning to dig.
In fact, calling 811 is required by law, and a damage that occurs without
such a call can result in civil penalties—even to homeowners.
Last year, NIPSCO recorded 860 instances—or nearly two and a half a day—of
an underground natural gas pipeline’s being unintentionally struck by a
third-party contractor, homeowner, or other outside party.
“Digging blindly without knowing what’s underground is like driving down the
road with your eyes closed, “ said Mike Finissi, chief operating officer for
NIPSCO. “So, no matter if it’s a homeowner doing digging work in their yard,
or if it’s a hired contractor beginning a large project, we want everyone to
stay safe by calling 811 before digging.”
Of the 860 third-party hits recorded last year, 138 occurred in the South
Bend, Elkhart, and Goshen area; 219 occurred in northwest Indiana; 183 took
place in the Fort Wayne area; and the remaining hits were recorded in the
company’s remaining central and southern service areas.
The number one cause of all damages is failing to make the call to 811 to
have underground lines marked before digging.
However, the number of dig-ins has progressively declined in the past five
years as NIPSCO and Indiana 811 have worked to educate both individuals and
contractors on the importance of damage prevention and using the 811 call
before digging number through annual media campaigns and community events,
direct mailings to excavators regarding safe digging practices and regular
damage prevention meetings held across NIPSCO’s service area.
There are nearly 19 million miles of underground gas, electric,
communications, water and sewer lines across the country. Digging without
knowing the approximate location of underground utilities increases the
likelihood of an incident, which can cause serious injuries, service
disruptions and repair costs.
Calling 811 is free and easy. Once a call is made, a professional utility
line locator will visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of
underground utility lines with paint or flags. After the site has been
accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging carefully around the marked
Whether planting trees, building a deck, installing a mailbox, or any other
project that involves digging, NIPSCO and Indiana 811 offers the following
recommendations for a busy digging season:
•Always call 811 before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with
•Tell neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends about 811 if they discuss
their plans for an outdoor home improvement project with you.
•Plan ahead: Indiana 811 is always open. Just make sure you call at least
two working days in advance of your project start date.
•Avoid starting projects until you’re sure all lines are marked. 811 will
read a list of which companies should respond.
•Choose another location on the property for a project if the original
planned site is near utility line markings.
•If your excavation is within two feet of any marked facility, only use hand
tools or vacuum excavation with extreme caution.
•If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made.
Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
Visit NIPSCO.com and Indiana811.org for more information about 811 and the