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Before digging anything else, dig this

Heed these safety precautions when digging at your home

You've seen the stories in the newspaper about the excavator who created a geyser when he hit a buried water line, or the contractor whose errant backhoe cut off phone service to half the town. But it's not only the heavy equipment that's a risk of cutting into underground utilities – every time you pick up a shovel, you could be at risk as well. It's important to remember that right below your feet there is a network of everything from water lines to TV cables, and some of it may not be as deeply buried or as well protected as you might think. For that reason, most states and local jurisdictions have fairly strict laws making it your responsibility to know what's under there before you dig, whether you're a contractor with a backhoe or a homeowner with a shovel. Those same laws can make it your financial responsibility as well should an underground utility be damaged. Fortunately, most states also offer locating services that will mark out utilities for you. One call is usually ...