Call before you dig in Broome County

By Brandi Bailey

August 13, 2013 Updated Aug 14, 2013 at 12:49 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Last year, twice as many Broome County residents accidentally struck underground power or gas lines than anywhere else in the state, officials said Tuesday.

That's why the county is is urging local residents to dial 811 before putting shovels to earth.

The county is teaming up with NYSEG to prevent unintentional underground power line damage.

It's caused by homeowners, excavators and contractors digging without knowing where power and gas lines are buried.

The free 811 service allows residents and contractors to find out where lines are located and prevent breaks.

Broome County's rate of unintentional hits in 2012 was 3.9 per thousand digs, according to county Executive Debbie Preston. That's twice the state average. Preston said 64 percent of those reported in Broome County were avoidable.

"According to New York state law, excavators must call to dig safely prior to any work to prevent damage. All you have to do is dial 8-1-1 two to 10 days prior to service," Preston said.

The county is asking people not to dig for projects before they have been checked and cleared.

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