Most homeowners and contractors know to call 811 before digging for a worksite, be it a new foundation or a simple flower bed. However, while “Call 811” is a critical first step before any kind of digging, it shouldn’t be your only one.
What Is “Call 811”?
“Call 811” is a federal service that allows property owners and contractors to call several days before digging within property lines to get an idea of where buried utility lines may be. Following your phone call, “Call 811” calls local utility companies and instructs them to head to the proposed work site to mark off where their buried lines are noted to be. This will give you or your contractor an idea of where costly damage or injury may occur if underground lines are disrupted.
What Are the Issues with “Call 811”?
Calling 811 should always be your first step when planning a dig of any size, and there is no alternative for having utility companies mark off where they have their underground lines. However, “Call 811” shouldn’t be used as a standalone service.
“Call 811” utility markings are done based on the companies’ records and not on the true locations of underground lines. The markings will serve as a good guideline, but additional, more specific information is required.
Another critical issue is that 811 services don’t apply to utilities on private land. If you have a sprinkler system, propane lines run from tanks to your house, electric lines run to pool equipment or outbuildings, or phone or cable lines run underground, these will not be marked following a call to 811.
What’s the Next Step?
After calling 811 and waiting several days for your local utilities to make their markings, you should also have utility locating done. Utility locating is a private service that not only details the specific and actual locations of public utility lines, but it will also provide key information about the private utility lines you have run underground.
Utility locating is a key step following your 811 call and will give detailed information to ensure a safe dig. Click here for more information on how utility locating works and how it can save you money and a whole lot of frustration associated with damaged utility lines.