By: Lareina Taing, Marketing Communications Specialist for One Call Concepts, Inc. (OCC)
Montana’s natural beauty is showcased in breathtaking national parks like Glacier National Park, and historic landmarks like the Bannack Historic District, Fort Union Trading Post, and the Great Falls Portage. Preserving these landmarks with their natural beauty and historic value is essential. As Montana’s population has grown and available land has decreased, increasing numbers of the utility lines that support the state’s quality of life have been placed underground. These underground utility lines include electric, cable, gas, oil, steam, water, sewer, and more. Hitting these utility lines while excavating can harm Montana’s natural beauty, cause serious injuries, or disrupt service to thousands of people.
Montana Dig Law 69-4-502 states: (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), an excavator may not make or begin an excavation without first obtaining information concerning the possible location of an underground facility from each public utility, municipal corporation, underground facility owner, or other person having the right to bury underground facilities that is a member of a one-call notification center pursuant to subsection (2)(a).
The good news is that preventing underground utility damage is easy and free. Just a few simple steps need be taken to prevent dangerous incidents caused by unsafe digging. According to the Montana Excavation Safety Handbook (MESH), the six basic steps to a safe dig are:
The entire handbook can be found here: http://goo.gl/epBLbx
Calling 811 is completely FREE and designed to streamline the digging process. You may also submit an online digging request on a computer or through your mobile device. It’s easy!
Note: Private property is defined as the area one meter from an individual’s home. This area may or may not be located, so you may need to call your utility company to locate private utility lines on your property if the dig zone breaches this area. You also have the option to hire a private locator to find these private utility lines. A list of private locators can be found here: http://www.montana811.org/private-locators.html
Remember to call 811 before you dig. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s the law. Safety is key!