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Summer Safe Digging Reminders

By: Lareina Taing Marketing Communications Specialist

Summer is here and the busy digging season is underway! One Call Concepts, Inc. (OCC) reminds everyone of these important points as they consider starting any outdoor digging projects:

1. Chances are, you’ve heard the “Click or Call Before You Dig” message and already know that preventing underground utility damage is free and easy. Did you also know that it’s the law? Keep updated with your state’s one call law before you plan to dig.

It is always a good idea to “click or call” before small and large digging projects such as:

- Planting a garden
- Installing a mailbox
- Staking a real estate sign
- Building a pool
- Installing a sprinkler system

2. Depending on your state requirements and/or notification center rules, file a locate request online 24/7 via ITIC or ITIC NextGen or call 811 at least a few business days in advance, excluding weekends or holidays, before digging. Always check the accuracy and completeness of your description. Make sure to include the specific type of excavating you are doing on your request.

Important Note: There is no hold time when you file a ticket online! Save time and increase efficiency when filing an ITIC ticket.

OCC currently operates in 16 states: MD (including D.C.), MN, HI, WA, IA, KS, TX, LA, MO, DE, MT, NE, NJ, NY, ND, and OR.

3. Before you contact your local notification center, remember to outline your proposed excavation area with white paint or flags. Although white lining requirements vary from state to state, doing so can decrease your chances of delayed locates and potential errors. When the utility companies mark their lines, you have the peace of mind of knowing if your project plan conflicts with the location of buried lines.

4. A locate ticket will remain valid for only a limited period of time. After that time passes, you must contact your local notification center to update your ticket and get lines remarked. The notification center can tell you what the validity period is when you file your ticket.

5. Private facilities are NOT marked when you file a locate request. Unless the owner of the facilities participates as a member of your local notification center, privately or customer-owned facilities will not be notified or marked. These types of facilities can be found everywhere. Examples include private water systems, data communication lines, underground sprinkler systems, gas or propane distribution lines, and many others. Protect yourself and invest some time to determine if there are private utility lines buried in excavation area. If so, you may have to contact a private locator to get them marked.

6. Always check the status of the underground utility markings before beginning work. Most OCC-operated states have access to an online tool called Search and Status, which allows excavators and homeowners to quickly check to see if all utilities have responded to the ticket.

7. Respect the marks. Do your best to maintain the paint lines and flags left by locators. Stop excavating and contact your local notification center if you can no longer see the marks because they are obscured or destroyed by job site traffic, weather, or other interferences.

8. Be mindful of the tolerance zone when beginning excavation. Depending on the one call law in your state, hand dig 18-30” from both sides of the marked utility (see graphic below).


9. Use the proper excavating tools and techniques. This can make all the difference when completing your project. Examples include choosing shovels with durable fiberglass handles and keeping the shovel head perpendicular to the ground when digging.

With these tips in mind, you are set for a successful excavating season. As always, stay safe and “click or call” before you dig!