Know what’s below before digging into your next outdoor project

Spring is just around the corner, and many of us are ready to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Perhaps you’re making plans for a new garden or a lawn makeover. However you are planning to revamp your landscape, Roanoke Electric Cooperative reminds all member-owners to keep safety in mind for all projects––especially those that require digging near underground utility lines.

“Most of us never think about the electric, gas, water, and other utility lines buried below the ground, but hitting one of these lines while digging is not the reminder you’ll want,” said Glenn Brown, the co-op’s safety and loss prevention coordinator.

Member-owners planning a digging project should call 811 at least three business days before you start. Or you can submit a request online by visiting

Here’s how the process works:

  • After you call 811 or submit your request online, all affected utilities will be notified of your intent to dig. It may take the utilities a few days to get to your request, so please be patient.
  • The affected utilities will send someone to mark the buried lines with paint or flags.
  • Before you break ground, confirm that all the utilities have responded to your request. If you placed your request by phone, follow the proceure outlined by your 811 call center representative. If you submitted your request online, refer to your 811 call center ticket to confirm everything.

By taking these important steps before you break ground on your project, you can help protect not only yourself but also our community. Disrupting an underground utility line can interrupt service, cause injuries, and cost money to repair, so remember to call 811 first and know what’s below.