Before You Dig

Are you getting ready to take on some construction work around the house? Building a deck? Installing a fence? New mailbox? Even a simple job like planting a tree in your yard can jeopardize your safety. Many energized power and utility lines are buried just a few feet under the ground. Digging, trenching, or excavating without knowing where the utility lines are buried could be costly – and fatal.

Before any trenching or excavating work is performed, the estimation of any utilities that may be contacted during work shall be determined as to its location.

  • Each state has different rules regarding this, so know your local requirements.
  • 8-1-1 is the national dig call center number for assistance with utility notification.
  • Utility representatives must be afforded the time to come to the site and identify any utilities that could be in the proposed dig location.
  • Most states require 48 hours’ notice before you dig.

Proposed dig locations must be identified with white paint or flags to indicate the anticipated location for the utility to determine exposures.

Digging around marked or anticipated utility locations, the operator shall dig with caution to ensure they do not strike the utility.

Open excavations are required to have the exposed utility supported to prevent damage to the service.

Common tolerance zones are from 18 inches to 24 inches plus the expected dimension of the utility and on each side of the anticipated utility location.

  • Follow your local regulations to remain in compliance. 

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