Seven project examples of when you should call 811 before you dig
Every digging job requires a call to 811 – from large-scale projects to smaller do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. There may be multiple utility lines in a single area, at varying depths. Digging without calling can disrupt vital services to an entire neighborhood, result in expensive fines and repair costs, and even cause bodily harm. It’s safe. It’s smart. It’s your responsibility.
Whether you’re planting a tree or digging a pool, always call 811 at least three full working days before work begins. A representative from a local utility will mark the approximate location of the buried utilities at your dig site. It’s for your safety and it’s the law. Make your next project safe and successful.
Here are seven project examples you may be planning when you need to call 811 before you dig.
- Building a deck? Call 811. Most experts recommend digging at a depth between 24 and 36 inches for deck posts to create the support and stability you'll need. You may be digging close to the connection points to your home for underground utility lines. Understanding where these are is important for your safety.
- Planting a tree? Call 811. Planting a tree is more complicated than you might think and must be thoughtfully planned out. You may be tempted to plant where the tree would look best or provide the most shade, but that could be a mistake. Not only could you damage an underground utility line when you plant it, but as your tree matures its roots may grow into your utility lines and disrupt your service, requiring you to remove what you've planted.
- Putting up a mailbox? Call 811. The location of your mailbox makes it easy to get mail delivered but also makes it even more important to call before digging. Many utility lines are buried along streets where mailboxes are often placed. Mailboxes require holes 36 to 42 inches deep and when you’re removing an old post set with cement, you will have to dig even deeper until it can be removed.
- Putting in a small pond or water fountain? Call 811. Most yard water projects require a depth between 24 and 36 inches. Considering this depth, digging without knowing the exact location of underground utility lines may be even riskier than other types of digs, whether using a ready-made installation or making your own.
- Installing a fence? Call 811. Installing a fence requires digging multiple holes in areas likely to contain underground utility lines such as along streets or property lines. Marked lines show those who dig the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences.
- Planting a bush or hedge? Call 811. This type of project requires you to dig trenches of 24 inches deep, with additional holes up to 12 inches deeper for the actual shrub root installation. Many utility companies often bury their underground lines along existing property lines – potentially in the same area you are considering for your project.
- Pouring concrete? Call 811. More than any other DIY project, pouring concrete is a semi-permanent job and requires serious planning – specifically where exactly your job will be located. You may have to jackhammer old concrete or dig a foundation up to 24 inches deep. You may be digging close to the connection points to your home for underground utility lines or along the roadside where many utility lines are buried.
To learn more visit the Dig Safe website.
Call Before You Dig – It’s The Law
By law, anyone planning to excavate is required to call Dig Safe® at 811 at least three full working days before work begins. Whether you are planning excavation as part of a landscaping project or building a deck or addition to your home, avoid property damage, personal injury and possible fines by contacting the one-call notification service before you start to dig.
The service will notify all utilities to mark the approximate location of underground service lines that might be in the construction area at no cost to residential customers. If you damage a natural gas pipeline while digging, you endanger your safety and the safety of others. You may also be responsible for repairs.
If you have contractors performing work for you, make sure they call the one-call system before starting work, too. The number one cause of natural gas pipeline damage is from third parties digging near underground facilities.