SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) Before you pick up a shovel and start digging in your yard, the state now has a law that could get you in trouble if you don't make a call first.
This law affects yard work like planting any trees or shrubs, putting in a new sprinkler system or a swimming pool. Anything that involves digging in your yard means you now have to pick up the phone and call 8-1-1. SC811 is the state's call center that notifies utility companies when you plan to dig.
This is how it works, you dial the number and give your information to an operator, and tell them the type of project you want to do. Then utility crews have to come out and mark all the places underneath your yard where utility lines are running. Once you have the "all clear," then you can start digging.
When it comes to breaking utility lines while doing yard work, officials say it happens more often than they like. WMBF News talked with Santee Cooper about the law, and representatives say it's something they've asked you to do before, but with this law, it's now something you have to do.
"It's extremely important," said Nicole Aiello with Santee Cooper. "We always at Santee Cooper have partnered with SC Pups, or SC811, and have done this as a service. But now that it's a law it's even more important. Utilities need to follow the law, contractors need to follow the law, and homeowners too."
The marking process takes about three business days, so now you'll have to plan ahead before doing any yard work. Officials say you should call if you're digging any holes around 10 inches.
If you don't call ahead, when it comes to utility companies, you could end up paying for it.
"If you don't call and Santee Cooper doesn't mark those lines, you're liable for all those damages," said Aiello. "For the equipment and us coming out to actually fix the damage to the equipment." With this law you'll also have to pay more, as the fines can go up to $1,000. Get more info by visiting this website.