811 is the federally designated call before you dig number that helps homeowners and professionals avoid damaging these vital utilities. When you make the free call to 811 a few days before you dig, you’ll help prevent unintended consequences such as injury to you or your family, damage to your property, utility service outages to the entire neighborhood and potential fines and repair costs.
Call 811 from anywhere in the country a few days prior to digging, and your call will be routed to your local one call center. Tell the operator where you’re planning to dig. Your affected local utility companies will be notified about your intent to dig and will send locators to your dig site to mark the approximate location of buried lines with flags or paint.
Remember: Always call 811 before you start any digging project! You can help avoid injury, expense, embarrassment and a very inconvenient day without critical services like electricity, internet or phone.
Most locate crews will arrive to mark your dig site with paint or flags within a few days and will make sure you know where to avoid digging so you don’t hit buried utilites. Remember the depths of utility lines may vary and there may be multiple utility lines in the same area. Be sure to check your state laws for specific information.
You called before digging, waited for your lines to be marked, and now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! Make sure to always dig carefully around the marks, not on them. Some utility lines may be buried at a shallow depth, and an unintended shovel thrust can bring you right back to square one – facing potentially dangerous and/or costly consequences. Don’t forget that erosion or root structure growth may shift the locations of your utility lines, so remember to call again each time you are planning a digging job. Safe digging is no accident!