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Remember to call 8-1-1 before digging

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CenterPoint Energy reminds homeowners and contractors that during the heavy summer excavation months of on-going construction projects, they need to call 8-1-1 before digging or excavating.

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One free call to 8-1-1 before digging can prevent injuries, property damage, service disruption and possibly costly fines for damaged infrastructure.

"Each year, more than 200,000 underground utility lines are struck in the United States and 37 percent of all U.S. digging damages result from not calling before digging," said Kris Tande, supervisor of damage prevention for CenterPoint Energy. "The 8-1-1 hotline is a free service that will notify affected utilities of a person's intent to dig. Within a few days, the utility companies will mark the approximate locations of the utility-owned lines with paint or flags."

The depth of utility lines varies and there may be multiple utility lines in a common area. So, whether it's a small project like planting trees or shrubs or hiring a professional for a special outdoor project, smart digging means calling 8-1-1 before each job, Tande said.

Since the 8-1-1 "Call Before You Dig" campaign was created in 2004, there has been roughly a 40 percent reduction in excavation damages.

For more information, visit call811.com. Homeowners and professional excavators in Minnesota can visit the website to make their requests through the Internet. For more information, visit the Gopher State One Call website at www.gopherstateonecall.org.

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