Michigan gets federal grant to prevent damage to underground pipes, power lines

Aug 27, 2012

Michigan will get $90,000 from the US Department of Transportation to help prevent damage to underground pipelines. The federal agency announced the grant today. It's granting $1.5 million total to 22 states. The money will support advertising efforts for MISS DIG.

"The number one cause of pipeline damage is people excavating on their own property without knowing what’s underground," said Judy Palnau, a Michigan Public Service Commission spokeswoman. The MPSC applied for the grant.

Debra Dodd is a Consumers Energy spokeswoman. She says there’s been a huge increase so far this year in the number of cases where homeowners accidently struck underground natural gas and power lines.

“Even if you’re just doing a simple landscaping project or putting in fences, which is actually one of the biggest causes of damages, putting in a pool, doing something with your deck, a mailbox; if you’re going to be doing any digging at all that’s more than a few inches deep, I would recommend that you call MISS DIG,” Dodd said.

MISS DIG is the toll free number people can call to get someone out to find where underground utilities are buried.

A call to 8-1-1 will get someone on site for free within three days. People who fail to call could injury themselves, knock out power, and be held responsible for damages.

Doss says cases of damage have doubled in Lansing and Pontiac and nearly doubled in Flint over this time period last year.

The grant from the federal government will pay for advertising campaigns promoting MISS DIG.