If you are planning any projects around the house that involve digging or driving objects into the ground, do yourself a huge favor and “call before you dig”!
A short time ago, I was having my gravel driveway finished with concrete. The crew came out and installed the wooden form that would make up the edges of my new driveway by laying out long boards and pounding wooden stakes into the ground to keep the form in place while the concrete was being poured. By that evening, we had a beautiful new driveway and I was ready to relax and watch a game on TV. Imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV, only to find the cable was out and I had no picture! Of course, I promptly called the cable company to come out and “fix their problem”. The first thing they asked me was if I had done any digging at my home recently. At first I said “no”, but then I remembered all of those wooden stakes that had been driven in the ground by my driveway contractor. Short story long, turns out that one of the stakes was driven dead center into my buried cable line and severed it. It never occurred to me that we could have damaged anything with the type of work we were doing. I should have picked up the phone and called the Georgia Utilities Protection Center before we started the work. Instead, I spent the weekend with no TV, and no football!
The state of Georgia has a free service available to all residents and businesses of Georgia, that give us access to a one call service center for all utilities. Anytime you are planning to disturb the soil, whether it be digging a foundation, installing a retaining wall, adding landscape lighting, or even planting a flower bed, it is a good idea to use this service to identify the location of any buried utilities in the area you plan to work. Many of these utilities are only a few inches deep, a lesson I learned the hard way during my driveway project.
When you call the toll free number 1-800-282-7411, or simply dial 811, you will reach the Georgia Utilities Protection Center (GAUPC). They will ask some basic questions about the type of work you will be doing and a description of the area on your property that you would like marked. If you are hiring a contractor to perform the work, they should make the call as the individual or company that disturbs the soil is who is to be listed on the locate request. The GAUPC will contact all of the service providers in your area and send them out to mark the utilities for you. Most people will be surprised at how many things are buried in their yards. The process is very easy to complete and the best part is, it’s absolutely FREE! You will get a locate number so that you can track your request, and a date by which all utilities should be located. Generally, the GAUPC will allow 72 hours for the different utilities to respond and mark the lines before the site is deemed safe to disturb. There are special exceptions for emergency situations where response times can be quicker.
I urge you to take advantage of this service. You can learn more at www.gaupc.com. As always, should you need professional installation or repair of any outdoor, or indoor electrical system, please give us a call at 770-455-4556, or visit our web site.