Be smart when farming near underground pipelines and utilities
Spring means deep tillage, trenching, posthole digging, tile-laying, building and other earth-moving activities on the farm. Be aware of pipeline and utility safety issues and call 811 when needed.
March 16, 2018 - Author: James Isleib, Jim Isleib, Michigan State University Extension
The fact is, underneath much of America’s farmland lies buried pipeline and utilities. These utilities may carry natural gas or oil, electricity, communication lines or water. Any one of these utilities struck during a farming operation can cause dangerous consequences for you, your family, tenants, hired hands, your neighbors, your community and the environment, possibly impacting your farm for years.
Make the free call to 811 to get your underground utilities marked every time before you dig.
|811 is only for digging.||811 applies to all dirt-moving activities like deep tilling, ditching, soil ripping, installing drain tile or utilities. It also includes building fences, buildings, roads and berms.|
|I remember when the utilities were put in and I’ve called 811 before. I don’t need to call again.||The depth of pipelines and other utilities can change over time. Please don’t make risky assumptions—you don’t want to be the neighbor who knocks out internet, cable or vital services.|
|I’m not required by state law to make a “one call,” so I don’t need to call 811.||You should always call 811. Like choosing to not text while driving, making a one call may not always be required by law, but it’s always the safest option.|
|If I hit a pipeline and nothing happens, there’s nothing to worry about.||Even if it appears the pipeline isn’t damaged, always call the pipeline operator. Protective coating damage or even a small dent in the pipeline could cause a major problem in the future.|
|Calling 811 will hold up my work. I don’t have time to call.||Calling 811 is fast. After you call, professional locators will be sent to the proposed excavation site within two to three business days.|
|Calling 811 costs money. I’m trying to run a successful business, and every dollar counts.||Calling 811 is free—the cost is paid by utility companies to protect you and your employees or tenants.|
|I’m not digging very deep. I don’t want to bother anyone for a small project.||The depth of pipelines and other utilities can change over the years due to erosion, digging projects or uneven surfaces. You’re not bothering us by calling 811. We’d rather you be safe than sorry.|
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