In observance of National Safe Digging Month in April, NIPSCO today shared results from the Common Ground Alliance national survey revealing that 74% of U.S. homeowners plan to dig on their property this year. Of those who are planning projects, more than 49.3 million Americans will put themselves and their communities at risk by not contacting 811 before digging.

Thousands of buried utilities are damaged each year due to digging activities. Safe Digging Month serves as a reminder to homeowners and contractors that digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, inconvenient service disruptions, and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water, and sewer lines are damaged.

When it comes to excavating safely, health and safety must come first. Contacting 811 is free. Dial 811 on your device or visit at least two full business days before digging. After an initial contact of 811, professional locators will arrive at the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint, or both. Each color of paint and/or flag represents a unique type of underground utility. The color code guide can tell you which colors indicate which type of utility and where to avoid digging. The utility flags may be removed once the project is fully complete. To learn more information, or to see the complete color code guide visit

Striking a line can cause inconvenient outages, costly repairs, injury, and fines. For every project – whether you’re installing a mailbox, planting trees, or performing any other outdoor digging project – NIPSCO encourages you to take the following steps:

• Always call 811 or enter a request online at two full business days before the start of any digging project.

• Tell neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends about 811 if they discuss their plans for an outdoor home improvement project with you.

• Plan ahead – Indiana 811 is always open. Although Indiana 811 is open 24/7, the law defines a working day as every day except Saturday, Sunday, and state/national holidays.

• Avoid starting projects until you’re sure all lines have been marked. When you call 811 you will hear a list of companies that should respond.

• Choose another location on the property for a project if the originally planned site is near utility line markings.

• If your excavation is within two feet of any marked facility, only use hand tools or vacuum excavation with extreme caution. 

• If you have hired a contractor to complete your project, confirm that he or she has made a call to 811 before doing any digging. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked. 

• After the site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging carefully around the marked areas.

Visit and for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.