Danger may be lurking just below the grass in your yard. Officials with Iowa One Call are reminding people who plan to dig holes or trenches to put up a fence, lay pipe or plant trees or shrubs, to call the toll-free number first. Ben Booth, a spokesman for the service, says it’s not just a suggestion. He says it’s the law and that cutting into any of the buried lines could result in financial liability or cause serious injury and even death. Beneath the grassline is a maze of underground utility lines. In one example, just last year, there were 171 natural gas pipeline accidents in the U.S. that killed 17 people, injured 41 and caused 54-million dollars in property damage. Booth says if you call first, you’ll be safe as utility companies will mark your yard with spray paint where not to dig. Booth says to call at least 48 hours in advance. The facility owner/operators, the people with the stuff in the ground, have to respond with 48 hours too and be out to mark your ground. Booth says it’s surprising how much hardware is just below the surface. Utilities include gas, electric, water, sewer and communications — from telephone and cable TV to broadband and fiber optics. The number to call for Iowa One Call is 800-292-8989. Iowa law requires all 15-hundred utilities to participate in the Iowa One Call notification system. One other warning, privately installed electric lines or other services, including invisible dog fences, sprinkler systems and LP gas lines, will not be located or marked through the Iowa One Call system.
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