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April Safe Digging Month

How do I know where it is safe to dig?

The safety zone, also known as the tolerance zone, is a strip of land the width of the utility, plus 18” on either side of the color coded markers. Alabama’s Underground Damage Prevention Act has established guidelines to avoid damage when working in the 18” tolerance zone area;

  • Utilize non-invasive methods to determine the exact location of the marked facilities. This
    is usually accomplished by using hand tools, potholing, or vacuum excavation techniques;
  • Maintain a clearance of at least 18 inches between the underground facility and
    the known cutting edge or point of any mechanized equipment;
  • Provide support of the underground facilities;
  • Protect and preserve the markings of the approximate location until markings are no longer required for proper and safe excavation practices.

It may be quite surprising, but damage to buried utility lines can occur when doing typical home improvement projects such as putting up a fence, mailbox post, swing set or clothesline pole; building a deck or room addition; planting a garden, trees or shrubbery. If you’re beginning a home improvement project that requires digging or adjusting the grade of your property, contact Alabama 811 before beginning your work.

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