Can You Dig it?
September 26, 2019
|How 811 works
Have a project that requires digging? Put down that shovel, pick up the phone, and call 811!
Digging without knowing the location of underground utilities can result in damage to electric, gas, communications, water and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries and costly repairs.
An 811 representative will take information about your project and notify utility companies to mark buried lines so you can dig safely. Each state has its own 811 call center, and representatives at those centers have direct contact to utilities that may have lines buried in your area. You should call 811 at least a few days before starting any digging project.
But how likely is it that there really are buried utilities where I want to dig?
Fact: there are more than 20 million miles of underground utilities in the United States. That’s more than one football field’s length of buried utilities for every man, woman and child in the country. Many of those utilities are buried just a few inches below ground. So, you can easily hit a line when digging for simple gardening projects, like planting flowers or small shrubs. Installing mailboxes and fences are examples of projects that absolutely require a call to 811 so you know what’s below before digging.
Find out more at the 811 website*.
- Call 811 from anywhere in the country a few days prior to digging and your call will automatically be routed to your local call center.
- Give the operator information about how to contact you, where you are planning to dig and what type of work you will be doing. Your conversation with the operator will last just a few minutes.
- Utility companies with potential facilities in your area will be notified about your intent to dig.
- Each affected utility company will send a representative to mark the approximate location of your underground lines. This typically occurs within 2-3 working days.
*By clicking this website’s link in this article, you are entering a website maintained by an outside party, which is entirely responsible for the site’s content.