You no longer have to remember the long 800-number to call before digging in your yard. You can now reach the Iowa One Call system by dialing just 8-1-1. Ben Booth, spokesman for Iowa One Call, says the three-digit number is a lot easier to remember and it’s now part of a national system.
Booth says, “This abbreviated dialing system, like 9-1-1, will allow callers to simply dial 8-1-1. They’ll be connected to the One Call center of the state from which they’re calling.” It’s the law in Iowa. If you’ll be digging holes for planting a tree, sinking fence posts or anything else, call the number first.
Utility companies will respond and mark on the ground, either with spray-paint or flags, where underground lines are located within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. Booth says: “That helps property owners and professional excavators, anyone planning to do projects that entail digging. That safeguards them as well as safeguarding the community. You don’t want to do something that disrupts essential services to the public.”
He says if you’re shoveling dirt in the back yard on whatever project and strike a gas main or a phone line, it could be a very expensive mistake for you, as the person doing the digging is held responsible for the damage done. Booth says: “Simply severing a telephone line could render the community without use of the telephone system and the 9-1-1 system. Obviously, the effects are more dramatic if you hit a gas line or an electric line. That can be very harmful and in fact, devastating.” For more information, call Iowa One Call at 8-1-1 or log on to “ www.iowaonecall.com “.