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If you're digging into spring project, remember to check for buried cable

During the month of May, National Electric Safety Month, people usually gear up for spring construction, yard work and planting. Otter Tail Power Company reminds customers and neighbors that before digging, they need to notify utilities that have lines or cables buried in the area.

Every digging project, rural or urban, no matter how large or small, requires a call to the national 811 One Call center at least 48 hours before digging. Dialing 8-1-1 will connect people to their state's One Call center, which will notify the appropriate utility companies.

Be prepared to give the location and start time of the dig activities. Professional locators will mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and/or paint.

The 8-1-1 call and the utility locates are free. Digging into a line, on the other hand, can cause injury and may cause repair costs and fines.

Damaging underground utility lines can cause outages to utilities including electricity, water and sewer, cable TV, telephone and high-speed Internet.

All projects that involve digging more than a foot deep require a call to 8-1-1 or contact a One Call center.

"Utility line depths can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces so, even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line exists," says Otter Tail Power Company's Safety Services Manager Eric Hamm.

According to Hamm, people should always call before they plant trees or shrubs, establish a new garden, begin field tiling projects, dig footings for garages, bury a water line, install a flag pole or mailbox, erect a fence, dig a trench, create a new water pond or build a new deck or patio.

Otter Tail Power Company, a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation is headquartered in Fergus Falls.

The Minnesota One Call Center can be reached at 1-800-252-1166 or