The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Governor Fallin has declared April Safe Digging Month in Oklahoma. Joining with her, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and its Pipeline Safety Department are reminding all Oklahomans of the importance of calling 8-1-1 or 1-800-522-OKIE before starting any project that involves digging.
Corporation Commission Chairman Patrice Douglas said one quick call can mean the difference between an uneventful home improvement or construction project and potential catastrophe.
“Taking the time to call 8-1-1 or 1-800-522-OKIE before you dig can save lives and prevent property damage. It’s time well spent,” said Douglas. “Oklahoma has certainly seen its share of injuries and loss of vital utility services that could have been prevented with just one call.”
Too many Oklahomans don’t realize just how close the danger can be, said Commission vice Chair Bob Anthony.
“Many people wrongly think that they should only check if they are digging a deep hole,” Anthony said. “You can hit a line even if you’re digging relatively shallow holes, such as those for planting a small tree or a mailbox post. Erosion, soil shifting, and other factors can change how close a line is to the surface.”
Commissioner Dana Murphy said digging without checking for what may be underground is taking a terrible chance.
“Oklahoma has thousands of miles of buried pipeline and utility cable,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on digging one hole or ditch, or a thousand, if you do it without checking you’re taking a very real, needless risk.”
Either 8-1-1 and 1-800-522-OKIE will put the caller in touch with the same free service, which will arrange to have underground lines marked before digging begins. For more information, visit www.callokie.com or www.call811.com .
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