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Utility companies urge homeowners to call before you dig ahead of DIY projects

Before you dig in your yard for a DIY project this spring, make sure to call 811 to avoid gas or power lines.

KENTWOOD, Mich. — Warmer days are just around the corner, which means many people across West Michigan will start on DIY projects which may require them to dig. However, utility companies are warning homeowners there could be underground hazards.

You may have them in your yard or seen them around town: Various flags and spray paint on grassy surfaces are used by utility companies like DTE to indicate there are lines or wires below.

DTE is reminding customers about the importance of dialing "Miss Dig" by calling 811. It is a free resource, and Michigan's only resource for ensuring you know what's below ground before you start to dig.

DTE officials said people should call before they dig, so they can avoid injury and a possible service disruption for themselves and their neighbors.

“If you hit a gas line, it could lead to injury,” said Scot Runke, operations manager at DTE. “If there's an ignition with that now blowing gas, which is the number one consequence that we're trying to avoid. When a gas line is damaged, we have to send a crew out, make sure the area is safe, and probably do some more excavation around the line to properly repair it. And that takes a little bit of time.”

Runke added that you should call anytime you're about to do something new in your yard that you haven't done before, like installing a mailbox, a fence or a flag pole. He said customers don't have to call if they're digging in their flowerbeds that they’ve been working on for years, but again, he said call 811 before you or the company you hire is about to dig. He reiterated that the depth of which you plan to dig doesn’t matter.

It is also worth mentioning, if you have these flags in your yard, each color represents something important. For example, red is for power lines, and yellow is for gas lines.

For more information about the importance of the flag colors, click here.


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