Summer is a busy time for home improvement projects and you protect your home, family, and community when you dig safely around buried utility lines.

How Does 811 Work?
A call to 811 can be made from anywhere in the country. When calling 811 in Massachusetts, which the law requires you to do at least three business days before digging, homeowners and contractors are connected to Dig Safe, the local one-call center. A representative there will ask for the location and description of the dig site, and then notify the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. These utility companies send professional locators to the dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines – at no cost to the customer – with flags, spray paint or both. Requests to 811 can also be made online at

Types of Projects
“Lines need to be marked for each digging project, including planting a tree, installing a fence, building a deck, putting in a pool, installing a mailbox, laying a patio, etc.,” said Michael Lee, Director of Operations for Westfield Gas + Electric. “When you have waited the required amount of time (72 hours) and have confirmed that all member utility companies have logged their responses, you can begin digging, but you should respect the marks and dig carefully around them.”

Nationally, there are more than 170,000 unintentional hits of underground utility lines – gas, electric, telecommunications, water, and sewer – each year. Striking a single line can cause serious injuries or death, disrupt service to entire neighborhoods, and potentially result in costly fines and repair costs. “We all rely on these important utilities to connect us and keep us safe,” Lee added. “Bottom line? Every digging project, no matter the size, warrants a simple call to 811.”

This August 11th, help spread the word about safe digging with your family, friends, and neighbors.The call to 811 is fast, it’s free, and it’s the law.Visit or for more information about safe digging practices.