DTE Care Force volunteer showing off new MISS DIG tree tags

Know what’s below, call before you dig

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MISS DIG 811 is partnering with over 300 Michigan Nurseries to launch a tree tagging campaign – “Know What’s Below, Call Before You Dig” –  targeted at homeowners and landscapers to raise awareness of the need to call 811 before planting. Throughout this month, the MISS DIG 811 team is reaching out to these nurseries to educate staff, provide the tree tags and inform their customers.

On April 18, MISS DIG 811, DTE Energy, and Consumers Energy teamed up to launch the tree tag campaign with Western Wayne Habitat for Humanity as part of National Safe Digging Month.  MISS DIG 811 provided the landscaping needs at the Habitat for Humanity build site.  DTE Energy’s Care Force, made up of employee volunteers, helped plant the trees. This event highlighted the important role homeowners and landscapers play in protecting Michigan’s underground infrastructure.

“Safety is our top priority,” said Catherine Stafford, DTE Energy, director.  “Spring is a time when many of us are excited about planting, but we want to make sure we do it safely.  We encourage everyone to call 811 at least three business days before digging on your property.”

Data collected for the State of Michigan shows that 31% of damages to underground facilities can be attributed to no notice being placed with MISS DIG 811.  Every year, there are about 10,000 incidents of damage to underground utility lines in Michigan from digging.

National damage data collected by the Common Ground Alliance shows that when a dig notice is placed, the probability of damage is reduced to less than 1%.  Sadly, their survey showed that 44% of American homeowners who plan to dig would not dial 8-1-1 beforehand, putting their families and communities at risk.

MISS DIG 811 was formed in 1970 and receives over 700,000 dig notices each year. In 2013, the state damage prevention law from 1972 was superseded by Public Act 174. Public Act 174, the MISS DIG law, requires a dig notice be placed before excavation occurs. This law also requires utilities to mark the approximate location of their underground facility lines within three businesses days.