Joliet nonprofit reminds residents April is safe digging month

April marks the ninth annual National Safe Digging Month, and Joliet-based Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators, or JULIE, is reminding homeowners and professional excavators in Illinois to call 811 before every digging project.

Regardless of its size or depth of, an improperly planned digging project can result in costly repairs, fines, inconvenient outages, and injury or death. It is free to call JULIE, which provides service at no cost.

The nonprofit’s call center agents are available to receive and process requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 811. E-request is also a convenient option for homeowners who prefer to enter their own utility locate requests via www.illinois1call.com.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to JULIE, Inc., the Illinois One-Call System, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint, or both. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting JULIE.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

JULIE began operations in Will County as a not-for-profit corporation Aug. 1, 1974. It expanded to include all of Illinois, except the city of Chicago, in December 1980.

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