Klamath Basin Residents Urged to Contact 811 Before Digging

Avista Utilities of Klamath Falls reminds you to Call 811-Before You Dig or begin an excavation project. 

They want to remind you that using this free service can save money and lives.

“None of us have x-ray vision to see underground utilities before breaking ground, and we know there are a lot of construction and home improvement projects happening this time of year,” said Josh Thomas, Executive Director of the Oregon Utility Notification Center. “This is a perfect time to remind everyone to contact 811 first so they don’t have to call 911.” 

Oregon 811, also known as the Oregon Utility Notification Center, was created by the Oregon Legislature back in 1995 to prevent damage to underground utilities and enhance public safety. The free service is available by calling 811 or going to Oregon811.com. By requesting a locate, homeowners and businesses can have their dig site marked with color-coded spray paint to avoid hitting underground pipes and wires.

The most well-known incident in Oregon happened about six years ago involving a destructive gas explosion at the corner of 23rd and Glisan in downtown Portland. It injured eight people and caused an estimated $14 million in damages. Just last year, there were 922 reported damages to underground utilities in Oregon, and most were preventable.

According to the Common Ground Alliance, the estimated annual cost of damages to underground utilities nationally is $30 billion. Nearly two out of five U.S. homeowners dig without requesting the free 811 service beforehand. The 811 center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for homeowners, contractors, and professional excavators. Requests must be made two business days before a project but not more than 10 days in advance.

“It is always a smart idea to plan ahead and request utility locates to know what’s below before digging,” said Thomas. “Using our free service is one of the easiest ways you can prevent service interruptions, costly repairs, environmental damage, injuries and worse.”

According to the Common Ground Alliance, nearly two out of five U.S. homeowners dig without requesting the free 811 locate service beforehand, and the estimated annual cost of damages to underground utilities nationally is $30 billion. To protect critical infrastructure and ensure public safety, the Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Utility Notification Center back in 1995.

Today, Oregon’s statewide notification center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and free of charge for homeowners, contractors, and professional excavators. Requests for utility locates must be made two business days before a project but not more than 10 days in advance. Dig sites are then marked with color-coded spray paint to avoid hitting underground pipes and wires.

“It’s the next best thing to having x-ray vision,” said Thomas. “When it comes to construction and home improvement projects, whether the job is large or small, it always pays to know what’s below.”

For more information about the Oregon Utility Notification Center or the statewide Oregon 811 system, go to Oregon811.com.

# # # B Roll Excavating and Locating (vimeo.com)

In 1995, the Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) to establish a statewide notification system to protect contractors, the general public and buried utilities from damages or injuries caused by excavation activities (ORS 757.547). The free service ensures that operators of underground facilities are notified of proposed excavation so the utilities can be located and marked in advance. For more information about the OUNC or the statewide notification system, go to Oregon811.com.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulates customer rates and services of the state’s investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities. The PUC also regulates landline telephone providers and select water companies. The PUC’s mission is to ensure Oregonians have access to safe, reliable, and fairly priced utility services that advance state policy and promote the public interest. We use an inclusive process to evaluate differing viewpoints and visions of the public interest and arrive at balanced, well-reasoned, independent decisions supported by fact and law. For more information about the PUC, visit oregon.gov/puc.

For more information about the Oregon Utility Notification Center or the statewide Oregon 811 system, go to Oregon811.com. —- Oregon Utility Notification Center  — Oregon Public Utility Commission 

 

Source: Oregon 811.com, Brian Casey, BasinLifeMagazine

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