August 11 (8/11) serves as a reminder for Virginia Residents to always Contact 811 before digging

August 11 is almost here, and Virginia811 hopes that the 8/11 date on the calendar will serve as a natural reminder for residents to contact 811 prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. In fact, 8/11 Day has been designated as an important annual date and enacted into Virginia law by the Virginia General Assembly.

Since more people are at home during pandemic restrictions, and with summer being a peak time to work on home improvement projects, it’s timelier than ever that residents remember to dig safely. When contacting 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Virginia811 – the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. The easiest way to get your property marked is to visit www.va811.com and fill out the online form. Allow 48 hours for locators to arrive at the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Every few minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages and fines. With more people staying home and relying on their utilities to work and communicate, inconvenient outages are important to avoid. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants contacting 811 by phone or online. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, and laying a patio are just some examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

“On August 11 and throughout the year homeowners and professional contractors alike are reminded to use this FREE service before digging to reduce the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Scott Crawford, CEO & President of Virginia811. “Especially at a time when we’re relying on important utilities to connect us and keep us safe at home, visiting our website at www.va811.com or by simply calling 811 really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you dig safely.”

Virginia811 is celebrating the day with a special Virtual 5k or 8.11 run that residents are encouraged to participate in during August 1 – 11. It’s free to register and participants can win several prizes by simply posting a photo on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #irun4VA811. Participants are asked to register online here: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eh7ngxxxkcutmqxu/a003kcw0dk76/questions. More information can be found on the Virginia811 Facebook and Instagram pages.

In addition to the run, a special Dedication and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony will be held for a new, state-of-the-art Communications Center that houses the city’s E-911 Center and the VA811 Call Center. Located at 1830 Blue Hills Circle (in the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology), the facility creates a culture that promotes innovative thinking, information sharing, and an increased awareness and interaction with our community.

A special media tour will be held Tuesday, Aug. 4 with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony being held on Thursday, Aug. 6 at 10 a.m. To schedule a specific time for a tour on August 4, contact Communications and Media Officer Melinda Mayo at melinda.mayo@roanokeva.gov or by phone at 540-853-6357. If you would like to use our pre-produced video, please feel free to contact me and I will provide it for you.

Please feel free to reach out if you’d like a spokesperson to be interviewed or join your Hosts via Zoom to show families how they can celebrate the day with a “Dirt Sundae.” I can be reached at nsoucie@va811.com

About VA811
Virginia Utility Protection Service, commonly called Virginia811 is the not-for-profit organization created by Virginia’s utilities to protect their underground facilities. Find more information and safe digging practices at www.va811.com