For many people in Southern California and throughout the world, their New Year's Day tradition includes watching the Rose Parade in person, on television or online.
The 131st Rose Parade will feature 88 entries this year – a pageantry of equestrian units, marching bands from as far away as Denmark and Japan, and colorfully decorated floats covered in stunning arrays of flowers, seeds and other organic materials.
There is one float – No. 14 in the parade order – that is especially near and dear to our heart: the 811 DigAlert float. Each year, our company helps to sponsor this float along with our sister utility, SoCalGas, and others to raise awareness of the importance of calling 811 to get underground utilities marked before starting a construction project that involves excavation.
This year’s 811 float features three cats – one operating an excavator – and four dogs that are very excited about a new community pool getting built. These cute critters are helping to spread the message that construction work, such as installing a pool, requires first contacting 811.
Utility lines, such as gas pipelines, telephone cables, and water lines can be located anywhere – under streets, sidewalks or even in your yard. Damaging a gas pipeline can cause a dangerous leak that results in injury and fines.
Unsafe digging from construction and landscaping activities resulted in 325 natural gas leaks in San Diego and southern Orange counties in 2019.
CA Law Requires Calling 811 Before You Dig
In California, everyone is required by law – whether you are a contractor or ordinary citizen – to call the free DigAlert service to get underground utilities marked out before performing any excavations.
Failure to do so can result in fines of up to $50,000, and you could be held liable for costs related to repair of damaged underground equipment.
It’s not just you who will suffer. Your neighbors and entire community could be greatly inconvenienced as well, because ruptured underground utilities can cause evacuations, traffic closures, flashing traffic lights and service interruptions.
How Does 811 Work?
If you are planning to undertake an excavation project, call 811 or submit a location request at call811.com at least two working days in advance. For every call or request, a ticket is generated. Even if you have hired a contractor, check to make sure your contractor has done the due diligence to get underground lines marked by calling 811.
If 811 identifies any gas lines near your excavation site, be sure to use only use hand tools to dig within 24 inches of the marked gas lines.
The 811 service is free of charge.
For a full list of all entries in the parade, visit this web page.