Diggers' Hotline call will help avoid expense, frustration

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer is a busy time for everyone, especially those who need to do work best accomplished during warm weather.

By all accounts, the SourceGas project to refurbish natural gas lines throughout McCook is being accomplished with courtesy and a minimum of disruption.

But that isn't the case for all summertime construction that involves disturbing the ground. Professional contractors and amateur handymen both need a timely reminder that locating buried utilities not only avoids disruption of service and expensive repair -- it's the law.

Since 1994, anyone who wants to dig has been required to call the Digger's Hotline, (800) 331-5666, or dial 811, 48 hours before they plan to dig, so that utilities can be located.

It's always been important -- a broken gas line can cause an explosion, broken water or sewer lines can cause a lot of damage, and no one likes phone service to be interrupted -- but it's even more important since the ground has begun to be populated by expensive fiber optic and Internet lines.

And, don't think just because you're only using a shovel and not a backhoe, you can ignore the problem. Yes, water and sewer lines are buried below frostline, but others are just a few inches deep.

Depending on the type of line cut and the duration of the outage, the cost could reach several thousand dollars, notes Gregg Ptacnik, director of operations at Great Plains Communications.

"It's a frustrating process for everyone when a line is cut, particularly when you know that one phone call could have prevented the issue," he said.

So, let's think ahead, make the call, and avoid the frustration.

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