April marks National Safe Digging Month. Homeowners and professional excavators in Illinois should always call JULIE, Inc. (JULIE) at 8-1-1 before every digging project this spring, regardless of the size or depth. This is a free call and service.
“Don’t make a judgment call, make a phone call to JULIE,” said Kevin Chmura, director of public relations for JULIE, Inc. “When homeowners inadvertently cut or damage underground lines during routine projects such as planting trees and shrubs or preparing a new garden or landscape feature, the results can still take a staggering toll, in terms of costly delays, environmental or property damage, liability, personal injury and even loss of life.”
There are four important steps to every safe excavation project:
1. Call JULIE at 811 before you dig;
2. Wait the required amount of time (two business days);
3. Respect the marks; and
4. Dig with care.
“Earth Day and Arbor Day are great opportunities for homeowners to give back to the environment by planting a tree or doing other outdoor beautification projects, but it’s imperative to call 8-1-1 before you start,” Chmura continued. “Digging responsibly is the only way to dig. Simply call 8-1-1 at least two business days ahead of any digging project and activity.” When homeowners call 8-1-1, they will speak with a helpful JULIE call center agent who will take the location and description of the project site and notify affected member facility owners and operators. These members will then send a professional locator to mark the approximate location of their underground utility lines with small flags or paint at no cost. JULIE personnel do not perform locating or marking services.
There is no reason to take a chance when it comes to safety. JULIE’s call center agents are available to receive and process requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 8-1-1. E-Request is a free, online option for homeowners via www.illinois1call.com. Based in Joliet, the not-for-profit organization represents 1,890 member utility companies and covers Illinois, outside the city of Chicago. For an explanation of the color-code markings and information about the one-call process, visit www.illinois1call.com.