Stop before digging

MASON CITY, Iowa – As homeowners begin preparing their lawns for spring, energy companies say prepare to call before you dig.

It’s all a part of “Safe Digging” month across the nation.

Those with Alliant Energy say they respond to hundreds of accidents each year where contractors or homeowners dig into buried gas or electric lines.

As a recommendation, they urge us all to contact our utility services to find those potential hazards before they become issues.

“If you were to start digging you know to stay 18 inches away from those markings. It look just like a spray paint and then you’ll be safe and you won’t cause yourself or somebody else any disappointment or any problems,” said Jim Collins, Key Account Manager with Alliant Energy.

If you do make contact with a buried line, the best course of action is to call 911 to report any damage or any health concerns.

“If there’s natural gas you’re going to hear a hissing. If you hit it and you break it open. You would have to hit it pretty hard enough and that’s what would happen and there would be a distinctive smell. Some liken it to sour eggs and that’s the smell that warns you that there’s a problem here,” said Collins.

Calling 811 two days before any planned digging gives utility companies enough time to mark the locations of potential hazards.

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