National Call Before You Dig Day was recognized Aug. 11, and Delmarva Power reminded customers and contractors to call 811 to have utility-owned underground lines marked before digging.

Every six minutes someone damages an underground utility line because of digging without first calling 811, according to the Common Ground Alliance, the national association promoting 811 and safe digging practices.

In 2016, more than 120 Delmarva Power underground electric and natural gas lines were damaged by preventable dig-ins. Because of this, Delmarva Power is conducting outreach to local customers and contractors to raise awareness of safe digging practices.

Delmarva Power has more than 6,065 miles of underground electric lines in Delaware and Maryland and more than 3,380 miles of natural gas mains and service lines throughout Delaware. Striking an underground electric or natural gas line can cause serious injury, costly repairs and lead to service interruptions.

Every digging project requires a call to 811 at least three days in advance. Even if residents do not have natural gas service in their home, there may be underground lines on the property.

When calling 811, customers and contractors are connected to MISS Utility to provide information about their project. MISS Utility will notify Delmarva Power and all member utilities of plans to dig. The utilities will then mark their underground facilities.

Once lines are located, customers and contractors doing work also must understand the markings and look for evidence of unmarked lines, such as water and sewer lines on private property. Sewer clean-outs and water valve covers are examples of equipment that can indicate the presence of underground lines.

Delmarva Power joins the Exelon family of utilities in recognizing National Call Before You Dig Day. Delmarva Power is also a member of the Common Ground Alliance, a national association promoting safety education information on underground utility systems.

For more, visit delmarva.com.