Iowans planning yard projects that involve digging are being reminded to dial 8-1-1 before placing that shovel in the ground. Iowa law requires any person engaging in digging or excavation work to notify the Iowa One Call service at least 48 hours in advance. Iowa One Call spokesperson Ben Booth says the service helps home owners and contractors avoid hitting gas, sewer or electrical lines buried underground.
“They’re all those things that are essential for us in our day to day livelihood, but you don’t want to go digging into them,” Booth said. “That’s why you need to know where they’re located prior to putting that shovel in the ground.” Iowa’s One Call Center is located in Davenport and is staffed by a team of 40 customer service representatives. They help Iowans who are planning a dig to identify underground hazards.
“The locators come out, identify where the facilities are and mark those underground facilities with paint and color coded flags so you’ll know the corresponding facilities are in the area and that’s the area you avoid digging in,” Booth said. The Iowa One Call service is free and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“You call at least 48 hours before you dig, get those underground utilities marked and that’s going to save you potential liability,” Booth said. “Most importantly, it’s a safety issue. You don’t want to go digging into something that can potentially harm you or your community.”
Iowa One Call representatives handle more than 400,000 calls per year. Booth says the busiest months for calls are April, May and June. The Iowa One Call service is financed by nearly 1,500 owners and operators of underground facilities in Iowa.