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​Join 787,237 of your neighbors in calling before you dig

April 24, 2017

That corner of your yard – you know, the one that gets all that southern light – would be a great place for a garden, don’t you think? Just flowers, nothing complicated. You’ll only be digging about six or eight inches down, so you probably won’t hit anything important, right?

Photo of a family planting flowers and trees.
​Photo: Natural gas, power, water…there are a lot of lines that run underground, and some are only inches from the surface. Just call 811 two days before you dig to keep yourself, your family and your neighbors safe.

Wrong. Underground utilities such as natural gas can run just inches from the surface – and hitting one with a shovel could be deadly. And it’s not just natural gas. You could hit a power line, too – and how would you feel if that caused, say, an entire hospital or school to lose power? You could be putting others at risk as well as yourself.

Fortunately, you can eliminate the guesswork (and obey the law!) by calling 811 or visiting the Gopher State One Call website. It’s a free service that sends someone to locate utilities within two business days of contacting them.

If this seems like an unnecessary step, consider this: Gopher State One Call received 787,237 requests in 2016 to have utilities located — that’s the most they’ve had in 10 years! As for those who didn’t call, well…1,369 of the gas line damages in Minnesota in 2016 occurred because someone failed to call 811.

The trend is continuing into this year: in March alone, over 41,000 people called 811 or submitted an e-ticket to have utilities located! (Maybe they were gearing up for April, which is Safe Digging Month.)

When you’re ready to join your shovel-wielding peers by submitting a ticket, enter your dig information online or call 811 to speak to a representative. They’ll want to know the following:

  • Your name
  • Phone number
  • Street address
  • Dig location
  • Nearest intersection
  • Type of work
  • The date and time you plan to start digging

Then grab some white stakes or white spray paint to clearly mark the area where you want to dig. That way, the locator will know just to concentrate on that area.

We agree, there’s nothing like a new garden in Minnesota in the springtime. Except a new garden that has been dug safely. So before you get started in that lovely little corner of your yard, call 811 or visit and know what’s below!