Some Iowans are busy beautifying their yards by planting trees. Before you dig that hole though, make sure you’re not shoveling into a power line, gas main, water pipe or some other vital utility. MidAmerican Energy spokesman Alan Urlis says sometimes people get in a hurry and don’t notify anyone when they plan to turn over some dirt. Whether it’s for construction, fence posts, a basketball hoop or shrubs, call before you start digging so any underground lines can be well marked. It’s not a suggestion, it’s the law. You must call the state’s “One Call” line at least 48 hours prior to excavation at 800-292-8989. Urlis says trimming trees also can put someone in danger. Don’t use a metal ladder near overhead wires and don’t let trimmers contact power lines. Utilities can come out and trim back trees near wires for you. Another thing to consider when doing landscaping is where to plant trees or shrubs. Urlis says if you are going to plant a tree that will grow to be tall, make sure you know where your power lines are first. Use the 20-20 rule: if the tree or shrub will be at least 20 feet tall when mature, don’t plant it within 20 feet of a utility line. Urlis also says to make sure children know the dangers of power lines and why they should avoid them. For more safety tips, you can go online to “www.midamericanenergy.com”.
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