Dig Safely Month Press Release

Governor Proclaims April 2011 is Safe Digging Month

Safe Digging is No Accident


Governor Nathan Deal Proclaims April 2011 as Dig Safely Month in Georgia. Damage Prevention stakeholders gather in honor of the occasion.


Duluth, GA April 1, 2011 – Don’t dig unless you know, there is no reason to make risky assumptions about the location of underground utilities. April is Dig Safely Month as declared by Governor Nathan Deal. Georgia is joined by several other states nationwide in this safety initiative. Safe digging saves lives, time, resources and money.


“Spring is the time many of us take on outdoor projects and home improvements. We need to remember that there can be danger just below our feet. That is the reason we need to call 811 before beginning any type of digging, whether we are planting petunias, installing a sprinkler system, fence posts, mail boxes or building a deck. Not making the free call to 811 could cause injury to yourself or family, it could create costly repair bills or it could cause service outage. It doesn’t make you popular in your neighborhood to be the one who dug through the cable, phone, water, power or gas line causing inconveniences or potentially life threatening situations,” according to Georgia 811’s President and CEO, Claudette Campbell.


Commission Chairman Stan Wise added “We are pleased to join with Governor Deal and all interested groups in promoting public awareness to prevent damages and personal injuries that may occur due to damage to the state’s underground utility facilities. In addition, we work to prevent the interruption of utility service as well. Georgia has built a damage prevention program second to none in the nation since the passage of the Georgia Underground Facility Protection Act over a decade ago. For those states who do not currently have a damage prevention program, I would issue a challenge to follow Georgia’s lead and begin such a program, it is the right thing to do.”


One call to Georgia 811 begins an important communication process to member utility companies who have service in the area of your project. “The smart and safe way to dig is to call 811 before every project, every time.  It not only saves lives, but money and time. If you have dug in the past without calling, don’t make that mistake again. The call is free and having the underground utilities marked is free,” explains Campbell. In April of 2010, Georgia 811 took 81,042 requests to have underground utility lines located. For each request, an average of eight member utility companies were notified that digging would be taking place in their service area.


Danny McGriff, Director, Facilities Protection Unit, with the Georgia Public Service Commission reminds, “homeowners, landscapers, fence installers, farmers, plumbers, professional excavators – anyone who will be digging- is required to dial 811 before beginning the project. Utility services like phone, gas, power, water and cable that your family depends on are buried underground. Every digging project requires a call to 811 – even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. Striking a single line can result in harm to yourself or someone else, costly fines and repair fees or inconvenient outages. One utility line is unintentionally struck every minute in the US.  811 is easy to remember and the call and the service are free. It also keeps you in compliance with the Georgia ‘Dig Law’.”


A free call to 811 begins the process of getting underground utility lines marked. Georgia 811 notifies member utility companies where and when you plan to dig. These member companies dispatch locate technicians to mark the underground lines with colored paint and/or flags. By respecting the location of the paint marks and flags you can avoid dangerous contact with underground facilities.


Notify Georgia 811 at least two (2) business days before excavation begins on public and private property, rights of way and easements. Know what’s below. Call before you dig. Simply dial 811.


Established in 1974, Georgia 811 is a non-profit organization comprised of over 700-member utility companies, including cities and counties throughout Georgia that benefit through reductions in lost time, accidents, service interruptions and costly repairs. Georgia 811 has been an industry leader in preventing damage to underground utility facilities and promoting safety and efficiency through high quality and economical notification services. In addition, Georgia 811 provides training and education while encouraging compliance with all applicable laws.


Georgia 811 strives to encourage four Dig Safely practices: 1) Call before you dig. 2) Wait the required amount of time for marking. 3) Respect the marks. 4) Dig with care.


Georgia 811, keeping Georgians safe and connected. Call Before You Dig, every project, every time, dial 811 or (1-800-282-7411) from any part of the state. For more information, visit the Georgia 811 web site at www.Georgia811.com. For more about the Georgia “Dig Law”, visit the Georgia Public Service Commission’s website at www.psc.state.ga.us.


Pictured in the photo above:


First Row, L-R

Meghan Chestnutt, Georgia 811

Commissioner Tim Echols, Georgia Public Service Commission

Eddie Rogers, Atmos Energy

Governor Nathan Deal

Claudette Campbell, President  and CEO, Georgia 811

Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Georgia Public Service Commission

Terry Allgood, Walton EMC and Chair for Georgia Utility Coordinating Council

Maria Copeland, Georgia 811


Second Row, L-R

Tiffany Callaway-Ferrell, Atlanta Gas Light and Georgia 811 Board Member

Jeff Patton, AT&T and Georgia 811 Board Member

Danny McGriff, Facilities Protection Unit Director, Georgia Public Service Commission

Michael Bell, Georgia 811

Terry McLaurin, Georgia 811

Jim Weldon, Georgia Power Company

David Lewis, Georgia Public Service Commission


Third Row, L-R

Bill Edge, Georgia Public Service Commission

Tom Bond, Georgia Public Service Commission

Scott Brumbelow, Georgia Utility Contractors Association

Tamara Vorwald, Atlanta Gas Light

Jeff Baker, Georgia DOT

Tommy Graham, Atlanta Gas Light

HJ McGinnis, STS


Fourth Row, L-R

Terry Pritchett, Georgia Public Service Commission

Rodney Middlebrooks, City of Monroe and Georgia 811 Board Member

Steve Murphy, Atlanta Gas Light and Georgia 811 Board Member

Allen Bell, Georgia Power and Georgia 811 Board Member

Frankie Rigdon, Ellijay Telephone and Georgia 811 Board Member