When Did the Use of 811 to Detect Underground Utilities Really Start?

call before you dig DenverThe establishment of an abbreviated dialing program for locating underground utilities has been in the works well before its official acceptance in the year 2005. In the United States, the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 already required all utility services to have abbreviated numbers, but it was only three years later that the 3-digit number, 811 was established as the universal number for the 71 regional services that covered the location of utilities such as gas pipes and water mains.

Before 2005, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or any other commission or agency, had yet to assign the use of 811 to anything. At some point, calling 811 would actually reroute you to a 911 emergency call, but that practice has long been discontinued.

The reason behind the FCC’s move was to ensure that regular people could have an easy way to call their local utility services before starting a project that required excavation. Since many water mains, electric cables and internet and telecommunication cables, not to mention gas pipes – which are the most dangerous of all – run underground, a sure way to prevent their damage was needed, and making it easier for people to contact their utility companies proved to be one of the most inspired choices that the FCC has made in this direction. For these reasons, it is very important you call before you dig Denver utility professionals before you start any project involving digging into your yard.

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