About 811

What is 811?

811 is the national number designated by the Federal Communications Commission to help protect do-it-yourselfers, landscapers and contractors from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects – large and small.

Why call 811?

Every digging project requires a call to 811. Hitting an underground utility line while digging can cause damage to the environment, serious personal injuries, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially incur fines and repair costs.

When to call 811?

  • Installing a rural mailbox
  • Putting in a fence
  • Planting trees or shrubbery
  • Building a patio or deck
  • Excavating a new garden area

* These are a few common examples of when to call. You or your contractor should call at least 2 business day before any digging project.

How does 811 work?

  • One easy phone call to 811, at least 2 business days prior to digging, starts the process of getting your underground utility lines marked for free.
  • When you call 811 from anywhere in the country, a representative from your local one call center will answer your call. Local one call center representative will ask you for the location and description of your digging job, and will notify affected utility companies, who will then send a professional locator to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines within a few days of your call.
  • Once your underground lines have been marked, you will know the approximate location of your utility lines and can dig safely.

What happens if I don’t call?

  • There is one unintentional hit every three minutes, which can lead to injury, repair costs, fines and expensive and inconvenient outages.
  • 37 percent of these incidents are caused due to a failure to call 811 before digging. Another 37 percent are due to not digging safely around the marks.
  • Knowing approximately where underground utility lines are buried before each digging project helps to prevent these situations.