The state is reminding construction workers to call 811 before they dig. According to the Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates underground pipelines and utilities in the state, one person is killed every six days nationwide because of hitting underground utilities during excavation.
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While there aren’t any state penalties for homeowners who hit a utility while digging, they can be held responsible for damages, says Darin Burk, director of the ICC’s Pipeline Safety Program. Burk says there are penalties for contractors who don’t call before they dig and strike a utility. Calling 811 at least 48 hours in advance of digging allows crews to come out and mark where underground utilities are located. According to the ICC, there were five major incidents regarding underground utilities inI llinois in the last three years resulting in injuries and millions of dollars in damage.