PEARL RIVER, NY Oct. 7, 2020 — The most important piece of power equipment this fall for everyone – from construction contractors to municipal excavators and landscapers to homeowners – isn’t a backhoe, auger, bulldozer or grader.


The most important power tool this fall is the telephone and the easy-to-remember, toll-free, one-stop number 811. That’s the nationwide One-Call Notification System’s phone number — 811 — the one number you Call Before You Dig.


By calling 8-1-1 before you dig, you’ll make sure utility representatives can identify for you the facilities they own and operate. That way, your digging does not strike any underground natural gas lines, electric cables, phone lines or water and sewer pipes or other utility infrastructures.  


Anyone who damages underground facilities because they did not follow the 8-1-1 regulations and calls at least 2 to 10 working days before starting work are subject to hefty fines and repair costs. And, the risk of a dangerous, even fatal, accident is all-too real if you hit an underground electric or natural gas line.  


The “Call 8-1-1 Before You Dig” program notifies O&R of the proposed work site so its qualified technician can locate, mark and identify utility-owned equipment with stakes, flags or paint to clearly mark areas to avoid. It’s easy, simple, fast, free — and it’s the law.


If you see an active excavation site or digging project, but you don’t see flags or painted markings, please call O&R at 1-877-434-4100 and report the location. 


If you smell gas, immediately leave the area and call 911, O&R’s Gas Emergency Hotline at 1-800-533-LEAK (1-800-533-5325), or your local gas utility. You can report gas leaks anonymously.


For more details about working safely around O&R’s underground and overhead equipment, see our Web site at For more information about the 811 One-Call Notification System, visit the website.