It’s spring time, the sun is finally coming out, and the crack of the bat with the Sioux Falls Canaries isn’t far away!

Another reminder of the change in the weather are the orange cones sprouting like mushrooms along the Sioux Falls East Arrowhead Parkway construction zone in a big call 811 before you dig project.

The second phase of this major re-do will finally provide six lanes from Sycamore to Highline Avenue.

Helping to make the project run smoothly is knowing what’s below, thanks to South Dakota 811.

A major event like this requires a big effort on the part of underground utility locators to get the roadway marked and flagged for the rebuild. Before excavation could begin, a call to 811 helped to get the project rolling.

It may sound odd to talk about damage prevention when a road is being torn up – but that’s exactly what’s needed.  Workplace safety requires knowledge of what’s down below.  Hitting a gas line, electrical conduit, or anything else will just slow down the project work schedule and could quite possibly lead to injuries or death.

The call to 811 let all utilities in the vicinity of this big dig know they had to send out their utility locating services to get those flags in the ground.

Excavators can do their job safely and efficiently with the knowledge that underground utilities may be out of sight – but are never out of mind.

Commuters know that the project won’t be slowed down by completely unnecessary stops to repair damaged underground infrastructure.

And in the end, the taxpayers will save money because of the work done by the 811 system before the first ground was broken.

So until the project is finished, get an audio book to listen to on your way to and from work.

And always remember to call 811 first!
Until next week, safe digging!

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Gambling and gaming has been part of Deadwood’s lore since the town’s founding in 1876.  It was finally made legal in 1989, and it’s been a pretty good source of income.

Last month, though, slots were off by 6 percent and table gaming fell 12 percent from a year ago February.   The story is here:

So it appears that nothing is a sure bet – unless it’s calling South Dakota 811!

One free call to 811 gets professional underground utility locators out to your jobsite to find and locate those underground utilities.  In fact, having a job marked by 811 before digging cuts the odds of hitting something you shouldn’t to about one percent.

Any professional gambler would love that kind of certainty!

Calling 811 before you dig is key to damage prevention.  The 811 request and subsequent line locating play a big part in workplace safety.  There is no need at all to gamble on your life or the lives of your coworkers by not calling 811.

A big gambler from Deadwood’s past was Wild Bill Hickock.   In fact, he was playing poker when he was shot from behind and killed in 1876.    Wild Bill’s last hand held two pairs, aces and eights – not bad, but a call to 811 would have given him MUCH better odds!   Did you know that having utilities marked before a dig reduces the chance of damages to about one percent?

Utility marking and locating make for a safe dig.  Your 811 request will be fulfilled within 48 hours.  Ok, we admit, it may not be as sexy as a slot machine, but the payoff is always going to be better workplace safety and damage prevention.

Don’t take a chance, and don’t gamble that you know what’s below.

Call us at South Dakota 811 and know for sure.

Until next week, safe digging!

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Digging a hole in the ground? Call South Dakota 811 first!

South Dakota is famous for Mt. Rushmore, with its massive stone faces of Presidents Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt.  Movie makers and writers have also been drawn to what’s possibly behind and below the faces, including secret spy headquarters and other such things.  The National Park Service frowns on any digging or excavating at the site to hunt for some super-criminal’s home base.

Actually, few people know there IS actually something behind Mt. Rushmore – more specifically, behind Lincoln’s head.  For that story, go here:

While America celebrates Mt. Rushmore above the ground, South Dakota is also home to a very big hole in the ground:  the Homestake mine, established in 1876.

Here’s a picture of it today:

No one needed to call 811 back then, there weren’t any buried utilities, and in fact, Alexander Graham Bell had just invented the telephone.  Workplace safety was unknown as miners toiled to bring gold up out of the ground.

Today that hole in the ground is 1,250 feet deep and a mile across.  A further mine shaft reaches down 8,000 feet.   Wouldn’t that be an underground utility locator’s nightmare?

It finally closed at the end of 2001 after producing over 1,300 tons of gold.  At its closure it was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America.

In 2011, the Department of Energy agreed to fund ongoing research at the Sanford Lab, with the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority operating the lab at the site of the old mine. The deepest underground laboratory in the United States, it houses multiple physics experiments in areas such as dark matter and neutrino research.   Talk about damage prevention!

You probably don’t have any projects quite this large, but even if digging a small project, it’s best, and the law, to call 811 before digging.

Having underground utilities properly marked/flagged before excavation cuts the risk of an accidental strike down to about one percent.

Make the call to South Dakota 811.  Know what’s below BEFORE you dig.

And while the secret room behind Lincoln’s head is pretty cool – the best look at Rushmore is from behind.

Until next week, safe digging!

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You wouldn’t think so with the recent return of winter – but there is a shortage of moisture in the soil in our state.

A new South Dakota Ag Department report shows moisture at short or very short supply in topsoil and subsoil.

That news, of course, comes on the heels of last year’s drought – a drought many South Dakota farmers and ranchers are still feeling the effects of today.

With spring planting scheduled to start soon, it’s more important than ever that we work as a state to conserve water that’s already in short supply.

A good place to start is with a call to South Dakota 811 before you dig.

Do you own drain tile, irrigation lines, buried power or any other buried services that enter the public right of way? Did you know that it is a legal requirement to register those buried facilities with South Dakota One Call? Are you aware of how low the cost is to protect your investment?

Registration is easy. Simply click on become a member or email to begin the discussion about registering your lines and becoming a member of South Dakota One Call.

Once you are a member you will be notified each time someone calls the South Dakota 811 Center about working near your buried lines. This will give you a chance to mark and protect those facilities to avoid damage by excavators working in the area.

There is a one-time $35 sign-up fee, no matter how many lines you have or how much property you own. You will be charged only about $1 each time you’re notified by email that someone plans to dig near your property.

Having a water line hit by someone who didn’t call 811 – or who did call 811, but the line wasn’t registered – is something that can be avoided.

Conserving South Dakota water that’s needed for crops and livestock may be hard to think of while it’s still cold outside, but spring is on its way.

Be ready for it by joining South Dakota 811.

Until next week, safe digging!

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If you remember the movie Jaws – about the great white shark that terrorized an oceanfront community – you may remember that there was a sequel.   In fact, there were several sequels. (Even after the shark got blown up at the end of the first movie, but hey, that’s what counts as damage prevention in Hollywood.)

The sequel’s tag line was “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….”

Well, that’s what we can say about South Dakota weather today.  “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in your shirt sleeves….”

Yep.  The big punch from Mother Nature.   Interstate 90 is closed from Murdo east to Mitchell, and winds with 50 mile per hour gusts are creating white out conditions across South Dakota.  State offices in thirteen counties are closed.

You can read those stories here:  and here:

The point is, you can never assume anything when it comes to South Dakota weather or South Dakota workplace safety.  It’s all subject to change.  And that includes what’s buried beneath the soil of our state.

Relying on memory because you “know” where those underground utilities are located is a big mistake.  Use the free underground utility locating services – the kind folks who will come out to mark or flag buried utilities once you make a free one-call locate request to South Dakota 811.

Calling 811 before you dig reduces the chance of line strike/cut accidents to about one percent.

And while those above ground gas pipeline warning signs are great, don’t take them at full face value, either.   Call 811 first!

It’s tough enough getting by in a blizzard in South Dakota.  Don’t make it worse by being the excavator who caused a gas or telecommunications outage by tearing through a buried line.

Like the shark in Jaws, you never know what’s lurking beneath the surface!

Until next week, safe digging!

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Quick quiz – what are signs used for?

Well, a lot of things, but the primary driver behind any sign is information.  Choosing a sign that says “Sioux Falls, next exit” won’t work very well when you’re trying to drive to Los Angeles.

Ignoring signs can be bad, too.  It can be either text – beware of dog – or something as simple as a color, like red, which generally means stop when seen on a traffic light.

That’s something police say the driver of a semi rig didn’t do in Sioux Falls recently.

The resulting mishap took out several vehicles as well as a wall.   Fortunately no one was seriously injured.   You can read the whole story here:

Here at South Dakota 811, we contact utilities on your behalf to let them know where to put signs that there are underground utilities located close by.  The 811 call before you dig system brings out underground utility locating services to ensure that you enjoy workplace safety on the dig site.  However, damage prevention depends on you obeying those markers in the ground.

Just like a red light on a traffic signal means stop, those multi-colored flags in the ground mean whoa, Nelly!   Take care here and hand dig down until you expose those buried underground utilities.  The flag marks the approximate location of a line, and never tells you how deep that line may be under the ground.

Professional excavators know that utility marking is the first step toward damage prevention.

South Dakota 811 requests that everyone make the free call to 811 before you dig.  Your 811 request will result in signs that are easily read, and are paramount in overall underground damage prevention.

Until next time, safe digging!

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We live in the most connected age in history.  What you text, post, email, or otherwise disseminate in a digital format can be instantly seen across the office, across town, across the nation and across the world.

Remember a few weeks ago when someone pressed the wrong button and sent an accidental incoming missile alert to Hawaii?  It was nearly forty minutes before that situation was rectified.  In the meantime, texts and messages were flying like home runs at a Sioux Falls Canaries game.

And it all turned out to be a mistake.   Pressing the wrong button is bad.  Pressing the right button is good.

So, we’re happy to congratulate the city of Aberdeen for their first ever safety alert issued via text over a house explosion incident that could have endangered the public.  The incident happened on Tuesday, February 6th.

According to news reports, Police Chief Dave McNeil said the officers who first responded to the scene noticed it had the characteristics of a gas explosion. He said firefighters then reported there was a secondary explosion and that the utility company was being notified, so steps were taken to alert the public.  You can read the entire story here:

Thankfully, there were no injuries, and the cause is still under investigation.

In such a scenario, getting the word out quickly is vitally important.    That’s part of what we’ll be doing in our Spring Damage Prevention meetings.  South Dakota 811 along with local utilities will be conducting informative sessions to assist the excavation community and operators of underground facilities in reducing damage to underground facilities and improving safety for excavation employees and the general public.  We want to make sure everyone utilizes underground utility locating services before digging.  Making the 811 request is priority one on any excavation project.

The full schedule is here:

It’s been said a million times that there is no substitute for safety.  And when we say if we’ve told you once, we’ve told you a million times, we’re not exaggerating.   Workplace safety is at the top of our list at South Dakota 811 – but we can’t do it by ourselves.

Call 811.  It’s free, it’s easy and it’s the law.

Until next time, safe digging!

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Love is in the air in South Dakota!   Well, to be fair, it’s actually everywhere, since Valentine’s Day is Wednesday.  While we like to think of it in terms of cards, flowers and chocolates, it’s also a nice dollar bonanza for local merchants.

According to downtown Sioux Falls Vice President Brienne Maner, February 14th can be good for business, but it takes some creativity to draw people out in the weather.

To help get the word out, they showcased some Valentine downtown events on the Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. website – here’s a link to the page.

You can read the entire story about this heart-to-heart mission here:

Whether it’s getting people to shop downtown Sioux Falls in frigid February, or getting people to call 811 before they dig, it’s all the same:  it requires getting the word out and letting people know you’re open for business.

At South Dakota 811, we’re always open for business.  Use South Dakota 811 to locate underground utilities before you dig. Excavators planning to dig, drill or trench should make the required locate request to South Dakota 811 two working days before the planned work. Homeowners and landowners planning their own excavation activities are required to notify South Dakota 811 as well.  The call to 811 is free, as is the subsequent locating.

Don’t want to pick up a phone?  Contact us through the web portal or mobile app.   All the information is right here:

Remember, by contacting 811 before you dig, you’re sending a special Valentine to everyone in South Dakota that you value damage prevention and workplace safety.

Make sure those underground utilities are marked before you dig – and treat yourself to some downtown Sioux Falls store-bought candy and cards!

 Until next week, safe digging!

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While everyone was watching the Super Bowl (news flash, the Eagles beat the Patriots) a story from New Year’s Eve in northern South Dakota came to light.

An eight year old girl is being called a hero after helping a World War Two veteran escape a house fire.  The girl was with her grandparents in a car on New Year’s Day in Hecla when she saw smoke coming from a house.   She insisted on stopping to see what was going on.

As they pulled up, the 92 year old veteran was stumbling from the burning house.  The girl and her grandparents got him to safety and waited with him for an ambulance.

You can read the entire story here:

That eight year old made a difference.  She helped to save a life – the life of a fast diminishing group of national treasures, our World War Two veterans.

It’s proof that one person in the right place can make all the difference in the world.   Just like you calling 811 before digging.

Making that free call to get an underground utility locating service out to your job site before excavation begins is one of the single most important things you can do for workplace safety.

Utility locating services coupled with the call to 811 are free.

When you get to your job site and see the underground utility markers stuck into the ground, their bright colors giving you guidance about safe digging, you will have made a difference.  You or someone else will go home safe because you made that call, and because you obeyed the safety markers.

So be a hero.  Call us at South Dakota 811 before you dig.  Take full advantage of  free line locates from professional utility locating services after we notify them of your intent to dig and location.

There are 364 days until the next Super Bowl.   Be the 811 MVP on every one of them!

Until next week, safe digging!

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At South Dakota 811, we issue one call tickets. It’s pretty simple. You call us, we get some information, and then we send you a ticket along with any utility operators in your excavation vicinity.

The ticket is used to track progress on line locating prior to your dig, and it’s good for 21 days from issue.

Of course, we’ve all heard of the Golden Ticket issued by Willy Wonka to tour his magical candy factory.

And the South Dakota Lottery issues PLENTY of tickets.

But we’re the only entity in the state that issues tickets that could very well save your life and the lives of those around you.

And while we’re proud of our one call service and the damage prevention it provides –we admit defeat here at the hands of farm co-op Cenex Harvest States.

They’re handing out the biggest ticket of all – to this weekend’s Super Bowl.

A Lennox, South Dakota couple won two tickets by being chosen in an essay contest by Cenex.

Jonathan Hagena wrote a 250-word essay explaining what the co-op did for his farm.

You can read the whole story here:

You have to remember that Lennox has a population of just over 2,000, so it may seem that lightning struck – but everyone in Lennox has the opportunity for a South Dakota 811 ticket!

Simply call before you dig to take free advantage of utility locating services. Making that 811 request is as simple as dialing 811. Prevent outages and gas leaks. The 811 call is free, and so is the underground utility locating – which is either performed by the utilities in question or locate services working for them.

Plus, we don’t care if you’re an Eagles fan or a Patriots fan. If you’re digging in South Dakota, you’re always welcome at South Dakota 811!

(Even if you’re a Browns fan, but let’s not go there)

Until next week, safe digging!

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