Many diggers put themselves at risk by not calling 811

Before you do any digging this year, remember to call 811 at least three days before turning dirt.

IMG_3402Just last year, more than 319,000 of our customers, contractors and city workers called 811 to locate buried lines. That’s the most calls to 811 our area has seen in at least the last six years.

“That’s great progress,” said Richard Sublett, senior manager of compliance and operational performance – Alliant Energy. “Our data shows that calling 811 can save your life and save you a lot of trouble.”

When you call 811, local utility companies are notified where and when you want to dig. Within a couple days, we send a locator to mark the approximate location of our underground lines, pipes and cables. That way you know what’s below and can dig safely.


The yellow plastic pipe is a damaged natual gas pipeline.

Calling 811 isn’t just a good idea; it’s also the state law. Last year there were 363 hits to our lines. That’s a 6% increase over 2013.

For all Alliant Energy customers, 17% of those hits happened because no one called 811. That’s an increase from 2013 where 15% of hits didn’t start with a call to 811.

Calling 811 isn’t the only way to be safe while digging. You need to stop using power tools and hand dig within the safe zone, which varies from 18 to 24 inches depending on where you live. Just last year, 26% of hits came from digging with power tools in this safe zone.

“Safety is a top priority for our customers and employees,” said Sublett. “We hope customers, contractors and others put safety as their top priority too.”

811In Wisconsin, you must call at least three business days before you plan on digging. In Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, you must call at least two business days in advance. Check out for more information.

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