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Covington crew earns safety award

COVINGTON - The city of Covington's Water and Sewer Construction Department has been honored for an excellent safety record for the 12th consecutive year.

The department is the recipient of the 2008 Golden Backhoe Award, given by the Georgia Utilities Coordinating Council Inc., for damage prevention methods. The GUCC consists of facility owners, operators, locate companies, industry associations, municipalities and the Utility Protection Center.

One award is handed out in each of the Georgia Department of Transportation's seven districts to the utility with the best safety/damage prevention record.

The Covington crew did not have any damages, such as cut water, gas or electrical lines, for the year 2008.

This is the 12th year running the crew has been recognized for its safety record. Three times they have received the Lester E. Feathers Damage Prevention Award, the highest honor given by the GUCC.

"Their safety record has been wonderful for the past 12 years," said Linda Knight, a board member of the GUCC and office manager for the city's engineering department.

Knight said the crew "takes great care" to hand dig in emergency situations and makes sure to call professional locators to locate utilities before digging with mechanized equipment.

Knight reminded all residents that they should follow the crew's example and call 811, the nationwide Call Before You Dig number, to get permission to dig and make sure utilities are located beforehand.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.