Digging damage on the rise in Detroit: what you can do to help

With the heat of another Detroit summer approaching, green thumbs have emerged from their winter gloves and many Michigan residents have embarked on outdoor projects. However, at DTE Gas, there is cause for concern: the City of Detroit was among the top five Michigan cities for homeowner damages to underground natural gas equipment last year.

We all play a role in preventing digging damage, which can result in serious injuries and service disruptions. When tackling those long-overdue outdoor projects, whether planting trees, installing a fence or building a patio, it’s important to contact MISS DIG at 8-1-1 or missdig811.org.

You can also help keep friends and family safe by spreading the word. As you attend family gatherings and socialize this summer, let loved ones know: contacting MISS DIG at 8-1-1 or missdig811.org isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s free and it’s the law. Almost 90% of homeowner damages occur when the occupant fails to contact MISS DIG, so it’s important we all do our part.

Dig safely using five simple steps: 

  • Contact MISS DIG at 811 or missdig811.org at least three business days before digging.
  • Wait until the flags are placed. Utility companies have three business days to go out to your property and mark where facilities are located. We use paint and/or flags to identify the approximate location of our lines.
  • Check status online to confirm all utilities have been marked. After the three business days, go online to status.missdig811.org to verify that all facilities have been marked. Enter your ticket number and review the responses from the utilities.
  • Begin your project. Congratulations! You are ready to begin your project if all facilities are marked, your start work date and time has arrived, and Positive Response statuses are all green.
  • Dig with care. Most importantly, keep yourself, your family, and friends safe. Make sure you are digging in the Safe Zone (more than four feet out on either side of facility markings). If you are closer than four feet out from facility markings, you must first hand-expose the facility lines (carefully digging with a small tool like a shovel) to determine their exact location to ensure you do not harm yourself or cut off service.

The same rule applies for contractors. If you’re working with an outside expert on a last-minute outdoor project, make sure they call 8-1-1 before getting started. In doing so, you can help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

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