SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Washington utilities and regulators are reminding homeowners, landscapers and construction workers to call 811 before you dig.
A free service will locate and mark utility lines on a property to prevent lines from being damaged or cut.
The Spokesman-Review reports (http://bit.ly/17tdLLj ) tougher penalties went into effect this year in the state for violators. Initial violations remain $1,000 but subsequent violations rise to $5,000. Damaging a pipeline can lead to a $10,000 fine and misdemeanor charge.
Spokane based Avista Utilities has about 6,000 miles of underground electrical lines and nearly 7,700 miles of natural gas lines in the Northwest. Last year the "call before you dig" service was called nearly 81,000 times for Avista lines, but they were still hit more than 500 times.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)