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Staunton joins Indiana 811 system

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The town of Staunton joined a long list of municipalities in Clay County earlier this week.

Indiana 811 announced Monday Staunton had become a member of Indiana's call-before-you-dig service.

Staunton joined Brazil, Carbon, Clay City and Center Point as members of the organization within Clay County. In addition, all major utilities in Clay County are members.

The organization has existed for 29 years.

"Indiana 811 is the communications link between the utilities and anyone digging in Indiana," Indiana 811 Director of Public Relations and Member Services Chuck Muller said.

In a nutshell, homeowners and contractors who call 811 at least two full working days before digging are connected to the organization, which then notifies the appropriate underground facility owners of the caller's "intent to dig."

According to Indiana 811 representatives, facility owners then dispatch utility locators to the digging site to mark approximate locations of underground lines with paint or flags. Once the lines have been marked, digging may begin around the marked lines.

By joining Indiana 811, the town will be notified when a resident calls the service to have underground utility lines marked. The town will then mark underground utilities it operates in the digging area.

"We ask specific questions about where they will be digging and we create a dig site polygon on our mapping system, based on the information gathered by the caller," Muller said. "Our mapping system also has the location of the areas that each of our members wish to be notified of any excavation activity.

"If the dig site polygon touches one or more of our members service area polygons, then we transmit the gathered information to the member."

Muller said Indiana 811 would not attempt to locate private buried facilities.

Indiana 811 estimates that, on average, 10 underground utilities are damaged in the state each day.

"Having the town of Staunton join a group of nearly 1,000 other underground facility owners is a major benefit for Staunton residents," Muller said. "The people of Staunton can now know that one easy, free phone call to Indiana 811 will notify the town to mark its underground utility lines and help them dig safely."

More information on the organization may be accessed at www.indiana811.org.

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