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County joins 'call before you dig'
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Effingham County will be getting a call before someone else digs in for its water and sewer lines.

County commissioners approved a membership agreement with the Utilities Protection Center for the county’s underground water and sewer lines.

“We let them know we have water and sewer lines and where they are,” county engineer Steve Liotta said.

UPC operates the “call before you dig” hotline, those digging in the areas of utility lines can call to see if they will interfere with those lines.

“We have had several problems with this lately,” Liotta said, urging that action was needed quickly.

The initial fee to join is $200 and annual dues are as little as $225, Liotta said. The fees are based on the number of calls to the UPC.

“Not to mention it’s required by state law,” he said.

If the county does not mark one of its utility lines or marks it improperly and it is damaged by someone digging, the county can’t hold that party liable for damage to county lines.

Also, the county often doesn’t get notice of some companies getting permits to dig within Department of Transportation rights-of-way.

“We run into that problem on Highway 30,” Assistant County Administrator David Crawley said.

He said Claxton Gas Company has lines in the county right-of-way, “and we have no idea how they got there.”