The Tolerance Zone

After filing a locate request with Montana 811, make sure to wait two full business days to get your underground utilities marked before you break ground. After the standard waiting period has passed, remember to check the status of your locate ticket by going to and clicking on the white button named “Search and Status of a Montana Locate Ticket.” If all affected facility operators have responded, what’s next? You should dig using hand tools, vacuum excavation, or a non-invasive excavation method within the “tolerance zone”, the 18” area on either side of an underground utility plus the width of the utility itself.

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Fall Harvest

With over 58 million acres of farm land in Montana1, you’ve probably seen signs of the annual fall harvest. With thousands of miles of underground pipeline in the state, it’s nearly inevitable that underground pipelines will run through or near farm land. Erosion, frost, root system growth, and other factors, will change the depth and position of utility lines. These facilities can be buried just a few inches below the surface, so even small excavating projects can result in damages. Exercise caution and prevent damages by always following the safe digging process for all agricultural excavations.

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Staking U is Coming to Montana!

Education is the key to locator success. Founded in 1999, Staking University (Staking U) established the first year-round training program to educate and certify locators on locating equipment and best practices. Contacting Montana 811 (MT 811) to get utilities located is the first important step in the safe digging process, making it essential for locators to learn how to provide complete and accurate locate information.

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Montana 811 Holiday Schedule

Planning on starting a garden over Labor Day? Want to install an outdoor fire pit on Thanksgiving? Keep in mind that after filing a locate request with Montana 811 (MT811), you must wait two full business days, excluding weekends and holidays, before you begin digging. The day you call DOES NOT count towards the standard two-day notice. Plan ahead when digging over a holiday, since you will need to wait additional time for the underground utilities to get marked in your proposed digging area. When a holiday listed occurs on a Saturday, the preceding Friday is not considered a business day. When a holiday listed occurs on a Sunday, the following Monday is not considered a business day. See the graphic below for the list of holidays that MT811 observes.

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