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August 11 Brings Safety Reminder from New Jersey American Water: Call 8-1-1 Before Digging

A simple phone call could prevent a mountain of costly problems from being unearthed. So as the calendar turns to 8-11-2012, New Jersey American Water reminds contractors and homeowners to contact 8-1-1, the state’s “One Call” system before doing any work that requires outdoor digging. Calling 8-1-1 three days prior to digging enables utilities to mark out where services lines are located so that contractors and homeowners can avoid inadvertently disrupting utility service and incurring damages and unnecessary costs.

“Many may not be aware that routine yard work, digging in or around your property, could create headaches if that digging ruptures a utility line,” said Stephen P. Schmitt, vice president of engineering for New Jersey American Water. “In a state as densely populated as New Jersey, we wanted to remind our customers to utilize the state’s One Call system and maintain a safe working environment, no matter how large or small the amount of digging you are planning.”

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

New Jersey’s One Call notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

After contacting New Jersey One Call, the state advises that callers on the following:

  • Wait for the site to be marked with paint, flags or stakes. Yellow indicates the presence of underground natural gas lines.
  • Respect the marks and dig with care.
  • Hand dig within two feet of buried piping and facilities.
  • Be mindful that inclement weather may wash away the painted markings.

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.

For more information visit http://www.nj1-call.org.

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.5 million people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.

Contacts:

New Jersey American Water
Richard G. Barnes, 856-782-2371
richard.barnes@amwater.com

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