What is 811?

811 is the phone number you call before digging to protect yourself and others from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines.  There are millions of miles of buried utilities beneath the surface of the earth that are vital to everyday living such as water, electricity and natural gas.

811 is the Federally designated call before you dig number that helps homeowners and professionals avoid damaging these vital utilities.  When you call 811 before you dig, you will help prevent unintended consequences such as injury to you or your family, damage to property, utility service outages to an entire area and potential fines and repair costs.

Do I need to call 811?

Yes!  Any type of digging requires a call to 811.  Planting a tree?  Building a deck?  Installing a fence?  811 is the number to call before beginning any project. It is required by law.  Not only does it help keep you safe, but it can also help you avoid the high cost of utility damage.

How to make the call.

You can call 811 from anywhere in the country prior to digging and your call will be routed to the local one call center.  You will tell the operator where you are planning to dig.  All of the affected local utility companies will be notified about your intent to dig and will send locators to the dig site to mark the approximate location of buried lines with flags or paint.  Remember:  Always call 811 before beginning any digging project! Please understand it takes time for utilities to respond to locate requests. JCCUD averages around 500 requests per month.  A three (3) business day notice is required before digging to allow proper time for marking.


Wait for the marks!  Utility companies will mark their buried lines on your dig site. 

Most locate crews will arrive to mark your dig site with flags or paint within a few days.  This will help you to know where to avoid digging so that you don’t hit buried lines.  Always remember the depths of utility lines may vary and there may be multiple utility lines in the same area.  You should hand dig when near a buried utility line.  Be sure to check state laws for specific information.

Digging Safely

You called before digging, waited for your lines to be marked and now it’s time to get digging.  Make sure to always dig carefully 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.  Don’t forget that 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 project.  Safe digging is no accident!

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