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With excavation season almost here, it’s important to know what’s below.

While April is National Safe Digging Month, every month is equally important when it comes to digging safely whether you’re a contractor, landscaper or “do-it-yourselfer.”

Calling 811 and getting lines marked before you dig can mean the difference between experiencing severe injury or even death and safely completing a project.

Living in a modern-day society means underground facilities including gas and electric can always be present, hidden just below the surface. In the United States today there are more than 20 million miles of underground utilities.

Whether you’re building a deck, fence or installing a mailbox or planting trees and shrubs always call 811 before digging.

During commercial construction the potential to damage facilities including gas mains, fiberoptic cable and underground electric lines also exists.

Agricultural work involving tiling, livestock water lines and fencing means calling 811 ahead of time, keeping in mind erosion can reduce line depth of facilities over time.

Not only can a line strike cause severe injury, it has the potential to interrupt service for neighboring homes and communities. Repair can be costly, running well into the thousands.

Regardless of the time of year, always be aware and be safe. Not only does calling 811 reduce the chance of bodily harm and causing damage, it’s the law.

Calling North Dakota One Call before you dig is quick, easy and prevents injury, costly fines and outages.

When you're involved in excavation activity this season, be safe and remember to call ahead.

Brian Kroshus, Bismarck

Public Service Commissioner Brian Kroshus holds the pipeline safety and damage prevention portfolio.

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