EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - East Texas contractors and excavators gathered in Longview Thursday to attend a safety event put on by the East Texas Disaster Prevention Council and Texas 811. The day's message was to call 811 before you dig to learn more about what you might hit while digging.
"Any kind of disturbing the earth, whether it's small or large, it's necessary to call," event speaker Marcus Ogas said.
As part of the demonstration, a backhoe operator pretended to rupture a gas line. Compressed air mixed with lime filled the air in one of the fields at the Maude Cobb Convention Center, while excavators and fire officials simulated a repair.
A real leak would be hard to see, but if there was an ignition source nearby it could go up in flame.
"If you damage a line you're going to be fined and you're also going to be charged the labor and the repair costs to fix the lines," Ogas said.
Calling 811 and requesting information is free, and it's the law to call before digging below 16 inches. Texas 811 also recommends calling prior to any depth of digging. They say they've seen fiber optic cables buried as shallow as four inches.
"A two-working-day notice is required before actually digging," event speaker John Sparks said.
During that 48-hour period, Texas 811 surveys site files and lets the caller know where different lines through their property are. Calling is something that contractors and excavators are accustomed to, but 811 says even the serious gardener should give a call.
A dig request can also be submitted online here.