Broome County Urges Digging Safely By Dialing 811

 (BINGHAMTON, NY) -- Broome County Executive Debbie Preston today joined officials from Dig Safely New York and NYSEG to urge excavators, homeowners and construction companies to follow critical protocol and take proper safety measures when digging for construction activity, planting and home repair.

“Our region had a wet Spring season and we realize contractors may be behind on their projects, but public safety is always our priority”, said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “It’s critical for our infrastructure, utility lines and neighborhood safety that all projects begin with dialing 811, to mark pipelines prior to excavation; this service is free of charge, requires little time, and saves lives.”

According to New York State Law, excavators must call Dig Safely New York prior to any work in order to prevent damage. While Dig Safely works to prevent such accidents, utility line disruptions are still common.

The greatest risk to underground natural gas pipelines is accidental damage during excavation. Even minor damage such as gouge, scrape, dent or crease to pipeline or its coating may cause leak or failure. Even common digging including gardening and installation of fence, patios and decks, if not planned properly, can lead to serious injury or even death.

In 2012 there were nearly 200,000 unintentional hits of underground lines across the Country: 

·         Broome County’s rate of unintentional hits was 3.90 per thousand, which is twice the State average of 1.99 per thousand; and

·         64% of the unintentional hits reported in Broome County were completely avoidable if excavators had followed safe digging regulations and protocols.

“Thirty four percent of damage can be prevented by making a free call; if you dial 811 it reduces your chance of hitting an underground utility line to under one percent,” said Dig Safely New York Operations Manager Kevin Hopper.  “Dig Safely acts as a communication hub that transmits information to the utilities so they know a dig is taking place, and can mark the underground lines to ensure public safety.”

Underground pipelines often run along a public street, but may also be near private property. In New York, homeowners and contractors should dial 811 at least two, but no more than 10 business days, in advance of the start of their projects to allow time for requests to be processed.

Preston, Dig Safely, and NYSEG urge excavators,  homeowners and construction companies to take the Dig Safely “811 Promise” Pledge to always dial 811 and remind friends and neighbors to dial 811 prior to digging, by visiting

08/13/2013 - 2:21pm