Submitted by Lake Apopka Natural Gas District
As summer comes to a close, you may have some home improvement projects to wrap up and check off your list. But, whether planting a bed of flowers, building an outdoor deck or installing a new mailbox, you’re likely missing one very important step that is required before doing any work that involves excavation, demolition or construction – calling 811.
Call 811 is a national program that helps property owners locate underground utility lines before beginning any work that could damage those lines.
Every six minutes, an underground utility line in the U.S. is damaged because someone starts a project without calling 811 first. And, studies show that less than half of the population is aware that this call is required. However, homeowners, business owners, and contractors only need to follow a few easy steps to ensure their own safety and that of their community.
Because the depth of natural gas pipelines and other underground utility lines can vary from just a few inches deep to over 2 feet below ground surface, Sunshine 811, the Florida chapter of the national initiative, was established to take the guesswork out of where those lines are located.
In Florida, you must call 811 at least two business days prior to beginning your excavation, demolition, or construction project. Simply dial “811” or submit an Internet Ticket Entry at Sunshine811.com. Utility companies will then place different colored flags or paint markings, indicating the type of utility lines located below the surface, in and around your work site.
You can check the Positive Response System (PRS) online throughout the process to follow each member’s progress. Once the utility has responded, before you put a shovel in the ground, it’s important to check the PRS summary again to see if the utility company has left you a “no conflict” code or if you have been left with further instructions.
Calling 811 isn’t exclusive to large-scale projects. In fact, it applies to tasks as simple as planting or removing a tree. Removing a tree can cause severe damage to a utility line as root systems often grow up to five times the size of a tree’s canopy.
If you are reading this, chances are you live or work within Lake Apopka Natural Gas District’s service area, which includes over 870 miles of natural gas pipelines in Orange and South Lake counties. With more than 22,000 residential, business and industrial customers, the District keeps safety and security of the communities it serves top-of-mind, every day. By taking the extra step to call 811, you can better prevent the likelihood of causing service outages, injuries, environmental contamination, property damage, and the associated fines and repair costs that can result from those incidents.
By calling 811, you’re not only protecting yourself, but other members of your community as well.
For more information and resources, visit Sunshine811.com or contact a member of the Lake Apopka Natural Gas District service dispatch at 407-656-2734 x 704, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.langd.org.