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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Call JULIE at 8-1-1 before you dig!


Above / It’s now mid-May. Though April is promoted as “National Safe Digging Month,” last month didn’t provide the best weather conditions to begin outdoor landscaping or construction projects.  This week commercials for JULIE on the radio remind listeners that JULIE stands for ‘Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators.’

UPDATED / REPOSTED May 15, 2019 / PN’s analytics show this post from several years ago continues to attract readers on this website, representing that folks want to know what to do when they begin to dig again this spring.

Posted April 20, 2016 / Shortly after we moved to Naperville in 1993 and planning our first spring landscaping project, we read in the local newspaper that residents were supposed to “Call JULIE before you dig.”

At the time, Julia Carroll was Director of Finance for the City of  Naperville. Carroll often was quoted in local newspapers, visible at City Council meetings and an active member of the community. Being new to the city and Illinois, we jumped to the conclusion that Julia, also known as “Julie,” was the Julie who’d be on the other end of the phone when we called 8-1-1.

Ever since, and especially after we got to know Julie Carroll, (She provided guidance during fundraising campaigns for the Riverwalk 2000 Campaign and the Rotary Club of Naperville.), we’ve found amusement in remembering that misunderstanding whenever we see colorful JULIE flags.  And we’ll never forget to call 8-1-1. Thanks for reading and remembering to call 8-1-1 before you dig.


For safe digging, always call 8-1-1 first. The call & service are free of charge.

When you see colored flags or spray-painted lines, be careful where you dig.

Back to the future, April is National Safe Digging Month when communities remind residents planning digging projects to call JULIE at 8-1-1 prior to beginning any work.

J.U.L.I.E. stands for “Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators. ”

The nonprofit business provides homeowners and professional excavators with one number to call before digging. Workers representing different utilities then arrive to plant colorful flags along matching spray-painted lines to mark the underground facilities in the area proposed for excavation.

Help prevent damage to utility lines

According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), every eight minutes an underground utility line is damaged because digging work was done without first calling 811. Underground cables for various utilities, including cable, water and sewer, are located throughout Naperville. These items can be damaged or ruptured by an assortment of digging instruments; a small bend or dent can create problems months later. Damaged cable can endanger property and public safety, in addition to being expensive and time consuming to repair.


Above / Parkways along neighborhood streets (25 mph, please) have signs that JULIE has marked the spots for proposed tree locations. According to the stake in the ground, a honey locust soon will be planted here.

Planning to dig? Call JULIE at 8-1-1, accessible around the clock

Before beginning outdoor work such as planting trees or shrubs, erecting a fence or undertaking any construction work, state law requires anyone digging to call JULIE for cable locations. JULIE alerts utility members in the area of your intent to dig. The number for JULIE is 8-1-1 and may be reached 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Anyone digging in Naperville, including homeowners and contractors, must call JULIE at least two working days before digging. Lines located in and around the planned dig area will be marked with different colors:

Yellow for gas or oil

Red for electric

Orange for communications

Blue for water

Green for sewer

Color-coded flags and spray-painted color-coordinated markings such as the ones shown in the photos are reminders of where not to dig.

This time of year, folks are planning new gardens, decks, patios and other landscaping projects.

If your lawn or parkway is marked without your knowledge, then likely your neighbors are planning some work or a utility operator is preparing for maintenance or repair. For instance, the City of Naperville has marked plenty of spots for new parkway trees.

Let us repeat… Spread the word… Call JULIE at 8-1-1 for free service

The goal of  JULIE and the  “Call 8-1-1” campaign is to reduce the risk of striking underground utility lines and potentially causing environmental or property damage, costly power outages or personal injury.

Note that JULIE is a free call and service.  There is no good reason not to call 8-1-1 unless you just don’t know about JULIE.

If it appears your neighbors are preparing a big outdoor project such as a new fence or deck and there is no sign of colorful flags, be sure to ask them if they know about JULIE.

For complete details, visit http://www.illinois1call.com/


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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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