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Don’t dig up this buried treasure

It may not be treasure in the traditional sense, but what’s buried under your lawn is valuable stuff.

A few inches underground, beneath your lawn and landscaping, are cables, wires and pipes that bring services such as electricity, natural gas, communications, water, sewer and other utilities to your home.

Nationwide, one out of every three damages to these underground utility lines is the result of uninformed digging. That’s why Georgia law requires you to contact 811 before digging.

The rule applies to major excavations as well as small home improvement projects like planting a tree, putting up a new mailbox, or even planting a garden, advises Brad Adcock, director of safety and training for Walton EMC.

“Hitting an underground utility line can knock out service to your home and neighborhood or result in fines, damage or even serious injury,” he said.

Call 811 or visit at least three business days in advance of your digging project. At no charge to you, professional locators will visit your property and mark the locations of utility lines with colored flags and paint. Each utility has a designated color (see graphic above).

Once lines are marked, you’re free to dig carefully around them.