BELLVILLE, Ill. (WCIA)– Illinois American Water asked residents to contact 811 before any home or outdoor projects.

Each day, an underground utility is damaged, said Illinois American Water, because the individual did not contact 811.

They said that when you call 811 you will be connected to a local 811 center. Doing so will allow them to call the appropriate utility companies.

Professional locators will then arrive at the site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint, or both. The markers include locations for water system infrastructures such as water mains and other utilities, said Illinois American Water.

“Calling 811 is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you can dig safely. It helps to protect not only critical infrastructure but also residents and neighborhoods,” said Beth Matthews, Vice President of Operations for Illinois American Water. 

“Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages, and fines. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrant contacting 811 by phone or online. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, and laying a patio are some examples of digging projects that require a free 811 request at least a few days before breaking ground.”

The company said that the depth of the lines varies because of erosion, previous projects, and uneven surfaces. The utility lines need to be marked to avoid the risk of hitting an underground utility line.

For more information visit their website and call 811.