Whether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional, smart digging means calling 811 before each job.
State and federal laws require anyone excavating to contact every potentially affected operator of underground facilities before starting to dig. North Carolina requires two business days notice and South Carolina require three business days notice, excluding weekends and holidays.*
One easy phone call to 811 quickly begins the process of getting underground lines marked. Local One-Call Center personnel will notify affected utility companies who then send a crew to mark underground lines for free.
Simple digging jobs can damage utility lines and disrupt vital services to an entire neighborhood, harm those who dig and result in expensive fines and repair costs. Marked lines show those who dig the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences. Knowing where underground utility lines are buried before each digging project begins helps to prevent injury, expense and penalties. The depth of utility lines may vary and multiple utility lines may exist in one area. (Based on information from Common Ground Alliance, North Carolina One-Call Center, South Carolina Palmetto Utility Protection Service
Who to call
The national call before you dig number is 811
North Carolina One-Call Center: 811 or 1-800-632-4949
South Carolina Palmetto Utility Protection Service (PUPS): 811 or 1-888-721-7877
*The NC and SC call centers generally operate between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Your call sets this process in motion:
Utilities with underground lines near the site are notified.
Utilities mark underground lines with color-coded flags or paint:
Red = Electric
Yellow = Gas, oil, or steam
Orange = Telephone, television, or other communication line
Blue = Water
Green = Sewer
Pink = Temporary survey marking
White = Proposed excavation
All marks are “good” for 15 days and projects should be updated if work extends over the 15-day period.
Don’t assume you know what’s below. Protect yourself and those around you – call 811.
Not all underground facility owners are One-Call members.
Always dig 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.
Excavation equipment can cause major damage to underground utilities. A best, safe practice is to “hand dig” within 30 inches of the locate markings on the ground.
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. Know what’s below. Always call before you dig.
If excavating, ditching, trenching, drilling, or blasting is to be done on or adjacent to your property, check https://www.call811.com/ or call your state One-Call system.