- Why do I need to call before I dig?
- What information do I need to call?
- What happens when I call?
- How long does it take to mark the utilities?
- Is there a charge for having the utilities marked?
- Where can I get more information?
There could be buried facilities anywhere you plan to dig; under the road, sidewalk, or even in your yard. Calling before you dig ensures that any publicly owned underground lines will be marked, so that you can dig around them safely. Having the utility lines marked not only prevents accidental damage to the lines, but prevents property damage and personal injuries that could result in breaking a line.
Also, it's the law!
The first thing you will need is the correct phone number. Using the correct phone number ensures that you will speak to an customer service representative who is trained in taking calls in your area, and in your particular situation.
When you call, you will be asked a series of questions about your worksite. Being prepared greatly speeds up the process! Please have this information ready:
* indicates required information. Even though not all the information is required, it is all helpful!
- * Your name, phone number, company name (if applicable), and mailing address.
- The name and phone number of an alternate contact person, in case the utilities have questions and cannot reach you.
- * What type or work is being done.
- * Who the work is being done for.
- * The county and city the work is taking place in.
- * The address or the street where the work is taking place.
- The nearest cross street.
- The distance and direction of the worksite from the intersection.
(If no address is provided, cross street, distance, and direction are required)
- * Marking instructions, (specific instructions as to where the work is taking place).
- Township, range, section, and quarter section or gps coordinates of the worksite.
These questions are asked so that the customer service representative can determine which utility companies should be notified of your excavation plans, and which should not. This process makes sure that all the utilities at your worksite are located, and the underground facility owners who do not have lines in your general area are not needlessly notified.
When you call, one of the friendly One-Call customer service representative will ask you a series of questions about your worksite. (See question #2 for information needed to process a locate request.) You will then be provided with a list of underground facility owners in your area. You will also be given a time in which the underground lines will be marked, and a ticket number for your reference.
It is advisable that you write that information down!
- Knowing which underground facility owners were notified can help if you encounter a problem later: You will know who to contact.
- The utility companies have between the time they receive the locate request, and the time the customer service representative gives you to mark their lines. Please wait until this time to dig, so that the utility companies have enough time to respond.
- The ticket number is the proof that you called. If you need to call the Utility Notification Center back for any reason, you will be asked for the ticket number. It is the only way the customer service representatives can reference your information. Your ticket number might be needed when contacting people other than the Utility Notification Center. For example, the utility companies might ask for your ticket number if you need to contact them about your locate request or excavation plans, or you might be required to provide your ticket number when applying for permits.
The Utility Notification Center will transmit your locate request to each of the listed facility owners within 2 hours from the time you call.
In the next 2 days (not counting weekends or holidays) representitives from those facilities will mark their underground lines according to the AWPA color code.
Once the time given to you by the One-Call customer service rep. has passed, you are ready to dig!
Under normal circumstances it takes between 2 days to 5 days from the time you call (not counting weekends or holidays) to have the underground lines marked. Because these laws vary form state to state, exactly how long it will take depends on where your worksite is located. You will be given an exact start time and date when your locate request is completed, which will comply with the laws in your area.
If marks are needed before the time provided by the customer service representative, they can be requested. However, the Utility Notification Center cannot guarantee that they will be marked any time before the original given time.
In the event of an emergency (any situation causing damage to life or property, or a service outage), lines can be marked sooner than the original given time if requested.
Currently the only area that the Utility Notification Center operates that charges is the IEUCC which is Spokane and Stevens counties in Washington State. However, any privately owned facilities would require the services of a private locating service.
There are many locator services that can mark privately owned lines. The Utility Notification Center can refer you to a private locator in your area.
If you have additional questions that are not answered on this site, you can call the Utility Notification Center (using the appropriate number, listed here). One of the customer service representatives, or a member of the management team should be able to help you.
If you prefer, written information is also available. A copy of your state laws, or a Standards Manual, which contains the laws and additional information which you might find helpful can be mailed to you. Also available are promotional items, including wallet-sized color code cards, that can help remind you to call before you dig.