National 811 Day, ‘Know What’s Below’ New York 811 urges homeowners and contractors to put safety first before digging or excavating on 811 Day

National 811 Day, ‘Know What’s Below’  New York 811 urges homeowners and contractors to put safety first before digging or excavating on 811 Day

Each year, across New York City and Long Island, tens of thousands of construction projects and repairs require digging and excavation. T

he potential for minor as well as severe life-threatening accidents around digging sites is real. New York 811 is the legally designated not-for-profit that acts as the communications link between utility companies, contractors, individuals, private excavation companies and others that are planning any digging activities in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island.

The organization works to ensure that all locations where mechanical digging or excavation will take place are marked and safe.

The leadership of New York 811 reminds the public and contractors that it is important to “know what’s below” the ground before digging and excavating. Every year on Aug. 11, “National 811 Day,” New York 811 highlights actions and rules that will keep construction workers, contractors, residents and the public safe anytime digging or excavation is done on public as well as private property.

On 811 Day, New York 811 encourages people to visit the organization’s social media pages where they will be hosting awareness and safety-focused trivia and other contests. There will be a variety of different prizes based on engagement level. New York 811’s social media sites are: Instagram

Facebook, and Twitter

All professional contractors must abide by state law and call 8-1-1 before starting an excavation project, whether it is large or small. This includes general digging for gardening, landscaping, pool installations, any and all construction projects, demolitions and excavations.

While not mandated by law, to ensure safety home and property owners are strongly encouraged to call as well.

Nationally, 811 has been designated the dialing code to call for marking and locating underground utility and service lines.

It is important that homeowners know to check the language in contracts with their contractors. Contractors are required by law to call 811, not the homeowner. When hiring a contractor, homeowners should ask the following questions:

Will a backhoe or excavator be used?

Is the contractor experienced with this type of work?

Has the contractor called or do they plan on calling 811?

Does the contractor know the exact areas where excavating will take place and what to do when utilities lines are marked?

Does the contractor know what the different color markings and symbols mean?

Does the contractor have an emergency procedure if water, gas, electric or telecom lines are hit or damaged?

“Calling 8-1-1 is essential for keeping everyone safe and preventing damage to utilities, homes and commercial properties on Long Island and New York City. If utility lines are damaged, this could lead to power outages, loss of gas or water service or telecommunications and internet outages that could last days or weeks,” said Roger Sampson, executive director of New York 811. “Safety is our mission and top priority. We are constantly working with our partners and members to reinforce safety and encourage training. We see National 811 Day as an important annual event to spread awareness about safety and following proper protocols before projects are started.”

When contacting New York 811, residents are automatically connected to a call center where they will share information about their upcoming project. Once called, New York 811 will then contact the utility companies. Utility companies or designated professional marketing companies mark the ground with paint and/or flags to identify underground utility lines. The following colors indicate what lines are in your area:

Red: Electric utilities such as power lines (Most common color)

Yellow: Natural Gas, Petroleum and Steam

Orange: Communication lines including telephone, internet and TV lines

Blue: Water and Irrigation

Purple: Non-Potable Water

Green: Drains and Sewers

White: Planned Excavation

Pink: Temporary Markings

All calls to New York 811 and services offered to the public are free of charge. In addition, there is no fee to have areas marked by utility companies. The team at New York 811 urges individuals and contractors to call at least 2-10 business days before the project begins to ensure all underground lines and pipes are appropriately marked. If unsure about areas being checked or marked, a follow-up call should be made to New York 811 before digging begins.

When digging, striking an underground water, gas, electric, cable or telephone line can cause severe injury or death, disrupt utility services and cost thousands and even millions of dollars to repair. In the United States, the cost to repair these damages has reached $30 billion each year. Failing to call or notify 811 before digging is at the root of many of these accidents. In the event a line is hit while digging, please contact 911, 811 and utility providers. Immediately evacuate the area and stay clear until the situation is resolved.

New York 811, Inc., is a non-profit organization that acts as the communications link between utility companies and contractors, individuals, private excavation companies and other utilities that are planning any digging activity in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. New York 811 provides services and programs that play a critical role in protecting one of the largest populated, congested and complicated underground infrastructures in the nation.

For further information about National 811 Day, New York 811 or other questions you may have about digging, please visit,


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