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National 811 Day Follows Record-Breaking Year for Digging Safety
Ameren reminds customers to call 811 before tackling home improvement projects to continue trend in excavation safety

Editor’s note: Video soundbites, b-roll and photos are available in online media kits for Missouri and Illinois.

ST. LOUIS (Aug. 10, 2023) – After a record total of more than 1.5 million requests to mark utilities on Missouri properties and Illinois properties in 2022, Ameren is encouraging customers and contractors to continue utilizing the service to prevent utility damage, service outages or injuries.

Aug. 11 (8/11) marks National 811 Day, which brings awareness to the safety risks involved with even small digging projects. To avoid unnecessary costs or risks, call 811 before any digging project. 

“We are excited to see the increase in Missouri 811 tickets, but it’s important to continue bringing awareness to digging safety so that our customers can take on their outdoor projects without putting themselves in danger,” said Pam Harrison, director of gas operations for Ameren Missouri. “Not only is calling 811 free and easy, but it’s also the law.”

With every call to 811, a professional will come to the property within three business days and mark the location of all utility, phone and cable lines to minimize risks while digging. Research has shown that those who call 811 prior to digging avoid environmental or health incidents 99% of the time.

“Whether you are putting in a fence or mailbox, adding a new flower bed or planting a small tree, it is crucial that you call 811,” said Eric Kozak, vice president of natural gas operations and distribution for Ameren Illinois. “Underground lines can be as little as a few inches below ground, and it is your responsibility to have your utilities marked prior to digging to avoid unnecessary damages and safety risks.”

While marking utility lines is essential for digging safely, it is also a legal requirement. These tips will help you stay in compliance and avoid costly mistakes during your next dig: 

  1. Call 811 or visit Missouri-811.org in Missouri or Illinois1call.com in Illinois at least three business days before starting a digging project. Requests can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
  2. Wait until a professional locator comes out to mark natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines. The approximate location of buried utilities will be marked with paint and flags so you do not unintentionally dig into an underground utility line. Each utility type corresponds to a specific color of paint and flag, and all of them must be marked before you can dig. 
  3. Once the site has been clearly marked, proceed to dig with caution. Make sure to dig carefully around the marks. Use the appropriate tools to dig with care and follow safe digging practices in Missouri or Illinois.

It is important to have utilities freshly marked every time you dig, even if you have had utilities marked for past projects. The lines may have shifted due to erosion and root growth since the last project. To learn more about safe digging, visit Missouri-811.org or Illinois1call.com

About Ameren Corporation
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric transmission and distribution service and natural gas distribution service. Ameren Missouri provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services, as well as natural gas distribution service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois operates a rate-regulated electric transmission business in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. For more information, visit Ameren.com, or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenCorp, Facebook.com/AmerenCorp, or LinkedIn.com/company/Ameren

For further information: Ameren Communications, 314.554.2182 (Missouri media), 618.407.6894 (Illinois media), communications@ameren.com