EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Spring is prime time for cleaning up the yard, gardening, installing a new fence, or any other outdoor project, but digging holes in your yard could come at a high price if certain guidelines are not followed.
Ameren Illinois knows people are looking to get outside to do some outdoor projects to cope with the pandemic, but they are urging customers to call 811/JULIE before digging in.
“When you call JULIE/811, a contractor will come out to the dig site, identify what underground utilities are in that area, and mark them so that you can dig safely,” said Gina Meehan-Taylor, Ameren Illinois.
You may not think digging a whole or uprooting a tree is a big deal, but one wrong move could lead to tragedy. If you hit a water pipe—or, more significantly, a gas line—you could cause deadly damage.
Meehan-Taylor described an incident where one homeowner decided to pull a tree out of their yard. They did not call 811/JULIE prior to doing so and was unaware that the roots had grown around a gas line. When he pulled the stump, he also pulled the gas line, causing a migrating leak.
Migrating gas leaks can be very dangerous. There have been instances of home explosions due to them.
“If you are digging and you inadvertently hit a natural gas line and cause a release, first thing you want to do is clear the area, call 911, and then Ameren Illinois,” Meehan-Taylor said.
It is actually illegal in Illinois to dig without calling 811 at least two days before you plan to start your project. Other than that, these measures are just to keep you and the community safe.