As the floodwaters fall, Iowans are making repairs to their properties — setting new fence posts, replacing landscaping timbers and planting new trees. Ben Booth, spokesman for Iowa One Call, reminds people to make use of the free underground utility locator service by calling 8-1-1 if they plan to be doing any digging.

Booth says: "Go ahead and call Iowa One Call regardless of what it is you’re doing. If you’re going to be doing anything at all that entails something that may affect the underground utilities." After you call, representatives from all involved utilities will mark on the ground with spray paint or colored flags where the pipes and cables are buried — so you can avoid them.

Booth says to make the call 48 hours before you plan to dig. "With all the flooding, you may actually have underground facilities that are exposed and you still want to call Iowa One Call, whether you see them or whether you don’t," Booth says. "The idea is, you call before you do anything that may breach these facilities or that have you encounter the facilities. We don’t want you to get hurt in doing the clean-up."

Not only does calling before you dig reduce the chances of getting hurt, but it can protect Iowans from civil penalties in case you do hit a gas main, phone line or water pipe. Every year, the service handles more than 400-thousand calls and locates more than two-million underground facilities within Iowa. For more information, call 8-1-1 or visit the Iowa One Call website .