Hello World! Welcome Friends! There is a maze hidden just under our feet, and when you have to start digging for a backyard project, it can be a nightmare to navigate. At any point in your yard, there may be cables, lines, wires or pipes for any of the many utilities that serve our homes. These are all good reasons why you should plan before you do any digging.
Pick a Location
To streamline the entire process, do all your project research first so you have a single final location to call about when you are ready to do so. You really don’t want to go through this more than once because you changed your mind, unless of course the first location turned out to be too hazardous to use. A professional topographic survey may be a good place to start if you want to be very accurate.
Your next step is to consider how deep are you going to be digging. If you are just turning over the sod to create a new flower bed, you may be fine. Most areas have their own limits, but a good rule of thumb is that you need to check with utilities if you are going more than 6 inches below the surface. Definitely any deeper than a foot, and that applies whether you are digging by hand (with a shovel) or with larger machinery. Even a simple spade can crack a pipe or split a buried cable.
Make the Call
Considering you would need to call water, gas, sewage, phone, cable and Internet companies to get the proper picture of what may or may not be under your lawn, municipalities have created a central system in order to encourage people to do the right thing. Names like “Call Before You Dig” or “Dig Safely” are used for single-call services that can handle the investigations. The service is usually free providing you give them 3 days to a week in advance notice of your project start. In the United States, you can use a nation-wide 811 phone number to access the no-cost service.
Never make any assumptions about the utilities under your property. Just because you “know” that there are only gas lines under your house doesn’t mean you can safely call only the gas company about their locations. Always check with all possible utilities.
Besides the rather obvious consequences of broken water mains, sliced phone cables or cracked gas lines, many areas have legal consequences too. If you do any construction or deep digging without checking-in first, you may be fined or even possibly jailed if there is a problem. One example is Washington State where you can be fined $1000 for digging without proper checking.
Whether you hire your own consultants or go with the local free service, you should always err on the side of caution and do all the research you can to find potential hazards underground before you dig. It’s really not that inconvenient and can save you a lot of hassle and damage.
Have a beautiful day/night depending on where you are in the world! Go with God and remember to be kind to one another!