Scrooge south dakota 811 blog

Remember good old Mr. Scrooge?   Well, actually, you probably remember bad old Mr. Scrooge a lot better.  He got most of the print in the Charles Dickens story.  The reformed Scrooge only got a few pages.  That’s not to say that the bad Scrooge was any sort of star.   He was a real pill.   But in the end, it turned out okay.

That’s kind of the way life is – just when you think there really can’t be any good news at all out there,  something good happens.

Four companies have teamed up in a big, big way to get fresh milk out to thousands of South Dakota families who will visit the Feeding South Dakota Food Pantry in 2018.

You can see the story here at the Keloland News site, and it’s worth looking at:   Even Mr. Scrooge would be smiling about this.  (After his ghostly visitations, of course!)

Now, if that doesn’t make you feel good all over in a Miracle on 34th Street kind of way, what will? (Ok, for those who don’t know the reference, it’s a 1947 movie in which “an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle fills in for an intoxicated Santa in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit that he is soon appearing regularly at the chain’s main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity.”  Rent it and watch it, alongside It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story.)

It feels good to do a good turn.  It feels good to receive one.  (My coffee was paid for this morning by a total stranger!)  As the holidays bear down upon us, all of us at South Dakota 811 want to remind you that you can do yourself – and others – a good turn just by reminding them of the 811 system in our state so they don’t make a colossal goof.

Believe me, we’ve heard it all before: “I thought the gas line was over there.”  “I didn’t know there was anything buried here.”  “I thought it was an abandoned pipeline.”

And the answer is always:  “Nope, nope and nope.”

But because you’re reading this blog, you know better.  And we depend on you to help us get the word out about safe digging in our state.  The good turn that you do by letting someone know about 811 may well save a gas line rupture, a hazardous spill, or even a life.

And isn’t that something worth cheering about, no matter what time of year it is?

Until next time, safe digging!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


It’s been a year since a building collapsed in downtown Sioux Falls, killing one man.  A woman and two dogs were rescued from the rubble.

The former Copper Lounge came crashing down on December 2, 2016.  The remains of the nearly 100 year old building are gone now; a drug store and a clinic are taking its place.

In April of this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that Hultgren Construction, the company that was remodeling the building when it collapsed, will be fined nearly $100,000 by the federal government for violations at the site.

Also fined over $100,000 was Command Center, a national temporary agency, that had supplied workers for the project.

Both companies are appealing the penalties.

What does this have to do with 811?   Just this:

Accidents can happen in just a moment – but the aftermath can be tragic, will seemingly last forever, and cost a fortune.

That’s why it’s so important for you to call 811 before you do any kind of digging in South Dakota.    Tree, fence, mailbox, swimming pool, stock pond, foundations, gas lines, electrical cables, telecom lines – anything and everything that’s going under the ground.  (And before you ask, cemeteries are excluded from this rule)

At South Dakota One Call, we want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season.  Take the time to get underground lines located before you dig.  The phone call to 811 will take you less than five minutes.  It’s free, as is the subsequent line locating service.  You can also reach us on line for requests at the homeowner portal here:  or for professional excavators here:

One of the definitions of the word “accident” when used in the context of a casualty or mishap is “an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage or loss.”

You can prevent almost all excavation line strike accidents by calling 811 first.

Visit us at for more information.

Until next week, safe digging!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



With Thanksgiving  behind us, another ag year is wrapping up in South Dakota.  According to an Associated Press article in the Keloland.Com news, “the federal Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that the sunflower harvest is 89 percent complete, the sorghum harvest 90 percent done and the corn harvest 92 percent complete.”  You can read the entire article here:

One thing we’ve been talking about in this blog is the lack of water in South Dakota.  That’s also a part of this story.  The state is running at about half of what it needs for water.

Are you doing your part to keep South Dakota wet by not cutting into buried water mains and pipelines?

It’s all about that call to 811 – reaching out to South Dakota One Call to make certain that underground facilities are marked and flagged before you dig.  Go to our website and check out the legal requirements for landowners.   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 811?  It’s right here:

Planning to plant trees, install drain tile or culverts, loosen subsoil, or disturb the ground in any other way? Call 811 at least two working days before the planned work, or sooner if planning to work on a weekend or legal holiday, even on your own property.

If you think you know where a telephone cable, rural water line or pipeline is buried, call 811 anyway. Many of these services have been damaged by individuals who thought they knew where the line was buried, but were wrong. If you hire someone to do the work, a representative of that company must make the call. Depth of buried lines can vary greatly and in some cases may be very shallow due to erosion or previous dirt work.  While striking a buried water line during a drought is bad enough, hitting a buried gas line or electrical line can be deadly, so make the call and be safe.  There’s no need to harvest trouble when you should be harvesting crops.

Remember, it’s the holiday season.  The best gift you can give to your fellow South Dakotans – and yourself –  is to call 811 before you dig!

Until next week, safe digging!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Thanksgiving is already upon us, which means we’re going to be more and more consumed with the holidays – and perhaps less with safety.

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog – and we hope you are – you already know to call South Dakota One Call before doing any sort of excavation in order to get those underground facilities marked and located before breaking ground.

So, we’ll give 811 a bit of a rest today and focus on the season at hand.

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year for cooking fires?  Number two and three are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, respectively.  Use of turkey fryers, indoor cooking, decorations, and festive candles (Christmas Day is number one for fires startd by candles!) spark these blazes.

Firefighters say keep an adult in the kitchen when the stovetop is in use, and one person at home when a turkey is in the oven, checking on it frequently.

It goes without saying that kids and pets need to stay away from all cooking areas. Make sure your stove top pots and pans have the handles facing inwards, so little hands aren’t tempted to reach up and grab something.

If you get a flare-up, NEVER put water on a grease fire.  Baking soda or an approved fire extinguisher are your life savers.

Turkey fryers are their own special problem.  Don’t use one in the snow or rain.  Use it on a flat, level surface away from the house.

NEVER put a frozen turkey into a boiling turkey fryer.  Here’s a video from the Virginia Beach Fire Department done for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper on what happens when you do:

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed, oil is at correct temperature and turn off the burner.  Once the turkey is submerged, restart the burner and never leave it unattended.   Read more here:

On the food side, salmonella is not your friend.   Cook a turkey to at least 165 degrees, maybe a bit more.  Refrigerate any uneaten food within two hours.  Any refrigerated leftovers should be eaten within four days.  Freeze anything else.  Observe safe cooking rules – keep utensils, countertops, hands and prep areas cleaned between items.  Wash hands frequently.  Change hand towels in the kitchen frequently.   Read much more here:

While Rover begging is a cute sight, don’t give in.  The American Veterinary Medical Association says that eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.  Chocolate can be harmful for pets. The artificial sweetener called xylitol – commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods – also can be deadly if consumed by dogs or cats.   And chewing on poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract.  There’s more here:

All of that being said – we at South Dakota 811 wish you a happy Thanksgiving and hope your football teams win!

Until next time, safe digging!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Who wants to be a millionaire?   Well, that’s a silly question.  We all do.   And fifty people in Sioux Falls put their feet on the path this past weekend.
The event I’m talking about was kind of like the Sioux Falls version of the popular TV show “Shark Tank”.  Twenty pitches were made Friday, which were whittled down to six, and then by Sunday the surviving teams were ready to unveil Sioux Falls’ next big idea.
You can read all about it here:
Sometimes, the simplest idea is the one that wins.   Consider inventor Thomas Edison, who brought us, among other things, the incandescent light.
He held 1,093 U.S. patents and 2,332 patents worldwide by the time he died in 1931.   Among many quotes attributed to him, one stands out:
“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”
In other words, if you don’t use an idea, it’s just going to wither and die on the vine.
The concept of 811 was totally unknown in Edison’s time.  Of course, there were a lot less buried facilities then, too – we have about 19 million miles of stuff underground now, according to the Common Ground Alliance.
If Edison was alive today, would he endorse the 811 system?  Undoubtedly.  It saves money, time and lives – but it’s also important to remember that the value of it lies in the using of it.
811 does no good if you don’t use it.  It’s a free call and a free service to get those buried facilities located and marked before excavation.  Whatever your excuse for not using 811 is totally invalid and unacceptable.
811 is a pretty simple idea with far-reaching consequences.  Pull down on that chain and turn the light bulb on over your head!

It worked well for Thomas Edison – and it will work well for you, too!
Until next time, safe digging!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Winter is Coming

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then you’re familiar with the line “Winter is coming.”  For that spectacular TV series, it sets into motion a series of events that ultimately include dragons, an army of the dead, spy/counterspy, and a no-holds-barred battle for the Iron Throne.
Well, winter is coming in South Dakota, but it’s doubtful there will be any dragons involved.

A nice light snow drifted across the state Monday morning.  The southern half of the state is seeing some hazardous driving conditions.

You can read more about the event here:

Snow on the ground doesn’t mean you should stop calling 811, though.  Underground facilities will still have to be located for work despite weather conditions.

On the plus side, colder weather puts an end to some summer pests like mosquitoes and wasps.

On the negative side, working cold weather outside has its own hazards.

According to OSHA, prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases, including cold water immersion, exposure can lead to death. Danger signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and confused behavior. If these signs are observed, call for emergency help.

You can get a complete list for protecting yourself in cold weather at the OSHA website:

In the meantime, remember that South Dakota One Call is open 24/7/365, sunny days or snowy days!

Call 811 FIRST to get underground facilities marked and flagged before you begin a project.

Visit us at and don’t forget your winter coat!

Until next time, safe digging!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment



Halloween is upon us, and if you have kids who will be out – it’s not a time to relax your viligance.
Safe Kids research, published at, has some frightening statistics.
Did you know that only 1/3 of parents talk to their kids annualy about Halloween?
On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween as compared to other days of the year.
Only 18% of parents use reflective tape on their child’s costume.
And 12% of children five years of age are younger are permitted to trick or treat ALONE.
That should send the wrong kind of shivers down your spine.

What can you do to make it a fun outing for your little superheroes and ninja warriors?   Here are some safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics at

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.

There are many more tips and ideas at their website; if you’ve got little ones, it’s worth the visit.
And – don’t forget that this coming Saturday night you should turn your clocks back one hour.   Yes, it’s that time again….
Until next week, safe digging!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment


An interesting item came up on the Keloland News website – apparently, consumers are getting tired of jumping directly from Halloween décor in stores in August to Christmas décor in stores in September.

One of the nation’s largest retailers, Target, says its customers “want it to pause the “Christmas creep.” It says it wants to be more in tune with customers’ mindset, so it plans to ease in holiday promotions this year while better recognizing Thanksgiving.”

You can read it here:

Thanksgiving.  I knew there was something in between Halloween and Christmas….but it goes by so fast that if you blink, you miss it.   The whole thing has become so blurred that I half expect to see skeletal Santas in the big box stores.  Kind of reminds me of the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Sometimes, slowing down is a good thing.  Obviously, this isn’t a great idea for an emergency room or trauma center, but you get the picture.  At South Dakota One Call, we want you to always slow down before you put a shovel or blade or bucket or auger in the ground.  In fact, we want you to slow down for up to 48 hours.  That’s the length of time utilities have to come out and mark or flag their underground lines and cables prior to any sort of excavation.

Of course, that’s only after you’ve made the free call to 811 to get this free service rolling.

“But I don’t have time to wait,” you say.

Yes. You. Do.

Call 811 at least two working days before planned work, or sooner if planning to work on a weekend or legal holiday, even on your own property. It’s a free service to you, and it’s the law.

Tilling soil for agricultural purposes to a depth of 18 inches is an exception to this requirement. Still, even with this exception, it’s a good idea to make the call, especially if you’re not sure what buried facilities are in the area or if you’re working new ground for the first time.

If you think you know where a telephone cable, rural water line or pipeline is buried, call 811 anyway. Many of these services have been damaged by individuals who thought they knew where the line was buried, but were wrong. If you hire someone to do the work, a representative of that company must make the call. Depth of buried lines can vary greatly and in some cases may be very shallow due to erosion or previous dirt work. Hitting a buried gas line or electrical line can be deadly, so make the call, wait for the locate and be safe.

And while you wait, maybe you can contemplate that idea you had for making a turkey jack-o’-lantern sitting on top of a red-nosed reindeer.

Until next week, safe digging.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Most people think of 811 – if they think of 811 at all – as something used only by contractors, excavators, professional builders, and the like.

However, at South Dakota One Call, we want farmers, ranchers, and homeowners to use the toll free 811 number and free underground utility locating service too!

Why?   Because you just don’t know what’s lurking underground near your property.

A story came out today in the Keloland News that Sioux Falls home prices are continuing a steep increase.  Reporter Casey Wonnenberg says the median sales price of a home increased in September by 5.7% to $195,550.    You can read the story here:

That’s a lot of money to pay for something that could be wrecked for lack of a free phone call.

Yep, that’s right.  Digging in South Dakota without calling South Dakota One Call at 811 could result in you hitting a buried gas, electrical or fiber optic line.  Worse, it could result in serious damage, and even worse, in injuries or death.

The call to 811 is free.   Within 48 hours locators will have flagged or marked the underground location of buried utilities within your dig site – and that action costs you nothing as well.

Once the marks or flags are in, hand dig carefully until you expose the line or lines.

When you buy a house, you take out a lot of insurance, and sign a lot of papers.   Don’t overlook one little item that could cost you big time.

Call 811 before you plant that tree, put in a fence or stick a new mailbox in the ground.

At South Dakota 811, we’re ready and waiting for your call.   Visit us at our website, to learn more.

Until next time, safe digging!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


All of us at South Dakota 811 join our fellow Americans, and the world, at being shocked and saddened by the event in Las Vegas.  The victims leave behind family and friends, children, wives and husbands whose lives are changed forever.  The wounded survivors will have their lives changed forever as well.

The world will keep going, and so must we.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment