Survey reveals more than 34 million Americans plan to dig without contacting 811 first, putting communities at risk

UDig NY calls on homeowners planning digging projects in Upstate New York to protect themselves and their communities by placing an underground utility location request by visiting or calling 811 before digging

EAST SYRACUSE, NY (March 31, 2022) – In observance of National Safe Digging Month in April, UDig NY, formerly Dig Safely New York, announced results today from a recent national survey revealing that nearly six-in-ten U.S. homeowners (58 percent) reported experiencing a utility service interruption during the last 12 months. Additionally, 49 percent of U.S. homeowners who plan to dig this year will put themselves and their communities at risk by digging without contacting 811 beforehand.

UDig NY is the link between excavators and the underground utility operators — and placing a location request by visiting or calling 811 is the first step in a safe digging project. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in serious injuries, inconvenient service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged. Submitting a free location request to UDig NY will help homeowners protect their properties, themselves, and their neighbors, reducing the likelihood of accidentally digging into buried utility lines.

“Digging without placing an underground utility location request puts families and communities at risk,” said UDig NY Executive Director Kevin Hopper. “It is important that anyone who plans to dig in Upstate New York place a location request with UDig NY by visiting or calling 811 at least two business days beforehand to have the approximate location of buried utilities marked, so they can safely dig and avoid a potential underground utility strike.”

The national public opinion survey of homeowners conducted in early March by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, revealed that 58 percent of American homeowners personally plan to complete a home improvement project involving digging in the next 12 months – and unfortunately, 49 percent of them, or approximately 34.9 million Americans, will take a risk by not contacting 811 beforehand. The most popular planned projects cited among surveyed homeowners who plan to dig include:

  • Planting a tree or shrub
  • Building a fence
  • Building a deck or patio
  • Installing a mailbox
  • Installing a pool

As part of National Safe Digging Month, UDig NY encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:

  • Always place a location request at least two business days, but not more than ten days, before digging by visiting org or calling 811
  • Plan ahead. Make a free location request on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
  • Confirm that all lines have been marked.
  • Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line-markings.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has contacted UDig NY. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
  • Visit org for more information

About UDig NY

UDig NY is the place where all safe digging in Upstate New York starts. As the link between you and the underground utility operators, UDig NY utilizes a contact center and industry-leading software – Exactix – to receive and transmit notifications of intent to dig in the form of underground utility location requests. UDig NY provides you with the tools to place and manage your location requests 24/7/365. UDig NY serves Upstate New York: the geographic region of New York State north of the New York City metropolitan area. New York City and Long Island are covered by New York 811. Visit or call 811 to place your location request. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube to stay up to date with the latest news and announcements.

About CGA

CGA is a member-driven association of nearly 1,800 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to North American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the preeminent source of damage prevention data and information in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at 

About the study

SSRS conducted a national omnibus phone study between March 4-7, 2022, on behalf of CGA. A total of 1,003 Americans ages 18+ were asked about their homeowner status and opinions on home and property improvement project topics. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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