What is 811?: One Call Services & Your Safety
811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number which was implemented universally as the abbreviated dialing program in 2005. Prior to its nationwide distribution, the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 required state government operators as well as government and contract excavators to participate in a state by state one call system established by the best practices outlined in the Common Ground Alliance’s report. This report collected differing underground infrastructure damage and near miss reports from across the U.S. and Canada to distribute nationwide.
811 statewide systems were implemented to better manage each state’s underground infrastructure damage prevention and damage awareness efforts. This state-by-state system allowed for widespread information in each region of the importance of calling before you dig for safe and successful projects. Whether you are digging up a tree in your backyard or excavating on a construction site, 811 is the number to call for all your public utility locating needs.
The 811 statewide system has a wide variety of names. In Illinois, “Call Julie before you dig” would be your contact to get the public utilities near you marked out. If you live in Northern California and Nevada, USA North call before you dig would be your contact. The names of each state’s One Call systems vary, but the universal number of 811 remains the same, so that any person who may not know much about underground utility infrastructure would be able to get a free public utility locate by dialing the 811 number.
Why Is Calling 811 Important?
There are over 20 million miles of subsurface utilities throughout the entire U.S., and that number is growing rapidly as more underground infrastructure is implemented every day. That means there are potentially dangerous utility lines right under your feet, that if struck, could cause electrocution, explosions, power outages, floods, and in severe cases, even death.
Protecting underground utility infrastructure in the United States and in your state matters, so calling before you dig in Maine all the way to Hawaii is important to avoid serious dangers resulting from hitting unmarked underground utility lines.
What Will 811 Locate?
When you call 811, the utilities that are publicly owned, operated, and maintained by the local municipality and or the utility company in your dig area will be located, including telecommunication and fiber optic lines, water lines, gas lines, power lines, electrical lines, and sewer lines.
When the call before you dig 811 system fulfills a public utility locate job ticket they will end at the meter or point of service for the line, such as a ground transformer, shutoff valve or termination box. This means that any utilities located on private property, from a commercial business building to a residential property, will be considered private property and the responsibility and cost of hiring a private utility locator will fall upon the business or homeowner.
As stated on the call before you dig Tennessee 811 website, ”If you have any private underground facilities on your property, it is your responsibility to have them located.”
What Is Private Utility Locating?
Private utility locating is the process of locating all underground utilities on site past the meter to the structure or building that they are being fed to as seen in the image below, including primary utility lines such as communications (phone, fiber, and cable), electric, gas, water, and sewer lines.
Other secondary private utility lines can include site lighting, storm sewer lines, irrigation lines, underground storage tanks (USTs) and vent pipes. The 811 One Call system will generally not mark secondary utilities and will not provide the depths of any utilities as part of their locate. While contacting 811 before you dig is the law, it is essential to your project’s safety that you contact a private utility locator to mark out any additional lines on site not located by an 811 line locator.
What’s The Best Private Utility Locating Company Near Me?
Whether you need utility locating services in Florida 811 or Ohio 811 territory, you will need a private underground locator to give you a comprehensive and accurate map of your private utility lines so that you stay safe any time you dig or excavate on your jobsite.
At GPRS, we specialize in underground utility locating nationwide and have over 400 SIM Certified Project Managers who are ready to be deployed to your jobsite to keep your underground infrastructure safe and secure. It doesn’t matter if you’re located in call before you dig Indiana or call before you dig Texas territory, we will be ready and able to come to your jobsite within 48 hours to assist you in protecting your underground infrastructure.