Illinois farmers reminded to “Call before you dig”

A utility damage prevention manger reminds farmers to have underground utilities identified before starting an excavating project.

Roger Watwood with JULIE Inc. tells Brownfield on average, an underground utility line is damaged every 6 minutes.

“And it’s usually because somebody thought they knew where the lines were. ‘Ohh, I’m not digging that deep. I’m not doing excavation. I’m just driving a fence post in the ground.’ But all those things are excavation.”

He says recent heavy rains in central and southern Illinois have resulted in soil erosion, which can cause underground lines to shift.

“They were placed at a particular depth originally, but due to the soil erosion and maybe you added some fill or you cut some soil off during the years that it’s been there, nobody knows until you actually expose that line how deep it is for sure.”

He says anyone with a project expected to disturb the soil surface is required by state law to contact JULIE at least 2 business days but no more than 14 calendar days before the scheduled project.

Watwood says you can simply dial 8-1-1 or access the free service online. JULIE will also have a booth with resources at the 2023 Farm Progress Show in Decatur.

Audio: Interview with Roger Watwood

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