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Letter: 811 service helps prevent damage, accidents

Enbridge operates crude oil and natural gas pipelines throughout the United States, including your area. Our pipelines are part of a network of more than 20 million miles of underground utility lines that span across the country. Many of your daily activities -- like taking a shower, driving a car, surfing the Internet, watching television and heating your home -- are made possible by this important network of utility lines.

Unfortunately, these underground lines are often damaged. In fact, underground lines are damaged close to 175,000 times per year -- or approximately once every three minutes--and the number of unreported near misses may be even greater. Damage to underground lines may result in injury, property damage and hefty fines. So remember, when you are working in the dirt, don't dig yourself into a mess. Instead, call 811 before you get started.

The 811 number is a fast, free service paid for by pipeline companies and other utility companies to protect you and your community. Make the call from anywhere in the U.S. to connect with a local one-call center. Be sure to allow 2-3 business days for a professional line locator to mark the underground utilities in your digging area so that you can safely dig around the marked underground lines.

Aug. 11 has been proclaimed 811 Day. I encourage everyone to use the national one-call number before every soil-disturbing project, no matter how big or small. Even in cases where it is not required by law, it is always important to locate underground lines prior to any digging project so that you may protect your property, but most importantly, yourself, your family, and your friends.

Mark Willoughby

General Manager, Enbridge Superior Region

Superior, Wis.