Have you ever heard of 811? Did you know there are state laws about digging? Well, there are, and here is what you should know. Before you do any type of excavation, Stop! Go to the nearest phone and dial 811, you’ll be asked several questions by the 811 agents about the nature of the excavation project. They generally ask what type of work you’re doing; this is also called the scope of the work. You should let them know how deep you are planning to dig and the exact measurement of the scope of the work. Another important piece of information you should give the 811-call center agent is the type of equipment, no matter if it’s just hand tools this key information to determine the risk of a potential damage.
Having detailed directions to the address or where you’re doing the work can be very helpful, instructions on whether the locator needs to use paint only or just marker flags will need to be provided to the 811 operators when creating the ticket. The utility locator is the person who is trained and certified to use specific equipment to locate the underground pipelines. Leaving your contact information on the ticket can also help the locator know exactly where you need marked. After you’ve called 811 and created your ticket it is sent off to the locating companies, who have 48 hours or three days to respond. Before you start digging, there’s two things you need to have, which are a positive response.
This means the underground utilities have been located and marked with paint and flags, or in some cases, the underground utilities are not in conflict with the scope of the work. When your dig site is not in conflict with any underground pipelines or fiber optics, you’ll still receive a positive response, but instead of seeing line and flags, you should see a white flag and or abbreviation of the word clear “CLR”. If there are underground utilities in conflict they will be marked out in colors, green for sewer, yellow for natural gas, red for electric and blue for water lines, also orange for cable television and fiber optics. If you’re interested in learning more about 811 visit the website for your state, just type in the name of your state following 811. For example, “Texas 811” any search engine or browser should work.
Oriente Lowe | DPI Inspector