“Call Before You Dig” Program Gains Permanence

In Olympia, Governor Inslee has put his signature on a bill designed to save lives, or at least prevent headaches. Dan Frizzell has that story in this audio report produced by the Washington State House Democratic Caucus.

We’ve all seen the signs:  Call before you dig. The worst-case scenario for ignoring the warning is tragic:  An exploding gas line that destroys a neighborhood or thousands of volts of electricity shooting up through a backyard gardener’s metal shovel. Even when the results aren’t that serious, a ruptured water line or a severed fiber-optic cable can ruin someone’s day.  This week, Governor Jay Inslee signed a new law that extends Washington’s Call Before You Dig program in perpetuity.  The program began in the state in 2013 as an experiment, and Representative Jeff Morris of Mount Vernon, the Mount Vernon Democrat who sponsored the new law, said making Call Before You Dig permanent is a no-brainer.

“It’s just a sensible law.  People knowing to call 8-1-1 and call before you dig is just imperative for folks to know that they can get lines marked.  Anytime you dig more than 14 to 18 inches in your backyard or front yard you’re supposed to actually call 8-1-1 and have them come out and mark lines.”

Morris said his commitment to the Call Before You Dig program is understandable: His legislative district includes Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, where a fireball erupting from a damaged gasoline pipeline in 1999 killed three boys and caused tens of millions of dollars in property damage.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.