Manager Connection: Gopher State One Call

By Syd Briggs,
General Manager

You may recall in the August issue of Sparks of Steele-Waseca conducting tree trimming for reliability of service. You can also help with reliability and being safe if you’re planning to dig to plant trees or any project that requires ground to be broken.

Digging without locating underground utilities could leave neighborhoods in the dark or cause severe electrical shock. Contacting Gopher State One Call (GSOC) before starting your project may allow you to avoid costly damages to underground facilities (the contact number is on the lower left column of this page). This is true regardless of how much area your project will cover or whether you consider the job to be large or small.

GSOC is not responsible for contacting locators to paint or flag your private facilities. Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric also doesn’t locate private underground facilities that are the homeowner’s responsibility. I wish to emphasize this point as the co-op has received calls in recent weeks to locate lines for projects involving digging.

Private underground facilities usually include any that serve outbuildings, hot tubs, security lighting, pools, and natural gas grills. Other private facilities include natural gas farm taps, private water systems, data communication lines, and invisible fences.

The contact information for a number of locating companies who will locate privately-owned underground facilities on your property can be found in the industry directory at www.gopherstate, then click on “Private Facility Locators.” This list is by no means an exhaustive list or a list of locators recommended by GSOC. For additional locators, consult a search engine, like Google, or refer to the Yellow Pages under “Utilities Underground – Locating.” Remember, private locators will charge a fee for their services.

There are different colors of paint and flags that mark underground utilities, and each color is universal to what utility is buried: Red, electric; Orange, communications, telephone/CATV; Blue, potable water; Green, sewer/drainage; Yellow, gas/petroleum pipeline; Purple, reclaimed water; and White, premark site of intended excavation.

Even if you previously had utilities located by calling 811, it is best to call before every digging project. Underground utilities can shift, and it is important to be certain of where they are before ever putting a shovel in the ground.

No one should ever remove flags before work is completed for the safety of all digging in the area. If you come in contact with an underground utility, evacuate the area, call 911, then notify your utility provider.
Social Media Version: 5 Steps for Safe Digging