Translator Disclaimers
For Immediate Release: Contact: Peter Peretzman
Date: 03/29/2019 609-984-9707


NJBPU Reminds Excavators, Contractors and Residents that April is Designated as “Underground Damage Prevention Month”
Safety Comes First at NJBPU, Which Urges Everyone to “Call Before You Dig”

Governor Phil Murphy today issued a proclamation again designating April as “Underground Damage Prevention Month,” highlighting the Underground Facility Protection Act that requires excavators, facility operators, contractors, and even residents to participate in the State’s One Call system, also known as “Call Before You Dig.”


Underground Damage Prevention Month is part of National Safe Digging Month, a national initiative recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation that takes place every April. It is intended to increase awareness of underground utility line safety precautions and reduce the risk of infrastructure damage.


This awareness effort is especially important since, as a national survey conducted in March 2019 by Common Ground Alliance (CGA) points out, 40 percent of homeowners who plan to dig this year will put themselves and others at risk by not calling 811 before starting.


“New Jersey has one of the strongest, safest underground damage prevention programs in the nation, and we intend to keep it that way with the public’s support,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU). “Notifying us of excavation plans is vital so that we can keep the public safe and prevent serious, digging related injuries, both to workers and residents, and to protect important underground infrastructure.”


Excavations are the leading cause of damage to underground infrastructure. In CGA’s survey, homeowners’ most popular planned digging projects cited are:


 Planting a tree or shrub
 Building a patio or deck
 Building a fence
 Installing a mailbox


The law requires anyone who plans to dig to provide at least three business days’ notice before excavation, by calling 811. Governor Murphy’s proclamation stresses the importance of keeping residents safe while also protecting New Jersey’s vital underground infrastructure, including pipelines, conduits, wires, and cables.


NJBPU has direct oversight of the New Jersey One Call Center, which operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week and is essential to avoid serious injuries, service disruptions, and costly repairs to critical utility services. It receives nearly 750,000 calls each year resulting in over three million “mark outs,” in which the location of an underground facility is marked by a flag or other symbol.


NJBPU encourages homeowners to take the following steps whenever they are planning a digging project:


 Plan ahead. Always call 811 at least three days before digging, regardless of the depth or your familiarity with the property.
 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 called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.


When someone calls 811, the operator informs the owner of the nearby underground infrastructure. The owner (e.g., a utility) then visits the site and marks the underground facilities where the digging will take place. For safety purposes, hand digging must be utilized within two feet on either side of the markings.


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About the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) NJBPU is a state agency and regulatory authority mandated to ensure safe, adequate and proper utility services at reasonable rates for New Jersey customers. Critical services regulated by NJBPU include natural gas, electricity, water, wastewater, telecommunications and cable television. The Board has general oversight and responsibility for monitoring utility service, responding to consumer complaints, and investigating utility accidents. To find out more about NJBPU, visit our web site at