April named Safe Digging Month in the state of Georgia

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Spring is here and many homeowners across Georgia may want to start an outdoor project.

That is why state officials and Georgia's 811 hotline are asking you to call them before you start digging.

Georgia's 811 office says it gets nearly 1,000 calls a month, only to report someone already damaged a utility line while starting a project.

That is why Mike Bell, a manager with the 811 team, wants homeowners to call them before they start digging, no matter how big or small their project is.

"Anytime that you're doing any type of outdoor projects, be it landscaping, gardening, building a deck or pool, anything like that," said Bell.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a proclamation naming April as National Safe Digging Month and experts like Bell want families to take advantage of this free resource by simply calling those three numbers.

"They'll ask questions, like your location, and what type of work you're actually doing," said Bell.

Once the 811 office receives that information, they'll send it out to local offices for utility companies in the area.

"Whether you're in Columbus, Atlanta, it doesn't matter where you are in the state. And, within a 48-hour period, the utilities will send out a professional locator. They'll mark those lines for you so you can stay away from them."

Bell also recommends that even if you hire someone else to complete the project, you can ask the contractor to call 811 and get all the information you need to keep you and your family safe.

Experts also say that over time, land erosion or changes to a tree's roots can move a utility line out of place, they suggest calling 811 or going online before starting any future project.

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