April is National Safe Digging Month, and as weather in Iowa continues to become more ideal for outdoor projects, Black Hills Energy is emphasizing the company’s top priority – safety – by providing important guidelines for safe digging.
Call Before You Dig by contacting Iowa One-Call at 811 or schedule online at www.iowaonecall.com. Then wait 48 hours (excluding Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays) before any digging begins. It’s free, it’s safe and it’s the law. Failure to call before digging could result in penalties or injuries.
“Public safety and the well-being of work crews and our employees is always our principle focus at all times,” said Wes Ashton, director of operations for Black Hills Energy in Iowa. “Whether your project is big or small, safe digging is critical to avoid hitting a utility line that could result in an outage to your neighborhood or an injury.”

Most important, whether you’re a homeowner planting a shrub or a contractor using a backhoe, always “Call Before You Dig.” Utility specialists will mark the approximate location of buried utility lines at your site with color-coded paint or flags – at no charge to you. This uniform temporary marking guide provides understanding of underground facilities to prevent accidents, damage or service interruption by workers. Yellow, for example, marks gas lines.
Spray-paint a white line around your planned excavation site. “White-lining” helps the line locator understand your plans and reduces the chance for project delays, should the line locator need to return to mark additional areas.
Always hand-dig near gas facilities. Whether using a shovel or heavy equipment, use care around natural gas facilities. Just a nick on a pipeline over time can create a weak spot that could develop into a leak.
Project delays? If you don’t dig within ten days of having the lines marked, contact Iowa One-Call again. Line locators will return to re-mark the lines at no charge.

“Underground utility lines may be out of sight, but they should never be out of mind,” Ashton said. “Please do the right thing and always Call Before You Dig.”