Call Utilities Before You Dig

A friend asked me this morning about my advice on planting some grasses and shrubbery around a cable box at his home. His main concern was digging in a utility area…should he hand dig, how far down can he dig or should he totally stay away from this area? He called the proper utility notification center to receive professional markings where the utilities are located (GOOD JOB!), but he wanted additional guidance on the standard procedures when digging around utilities. At this time of year, when lots of us are wanting to enjoy the outdoors and perform some landscaping projects on our own, I wanted to take this opportunity to review proper procedures for excavating and/or planting around utilities.

Through these FREE services in Kansas & Missouri, you must notify underground facility operators of your proposed excavations and request markings. One Call (KS & MO)   Dial: 811…It’s the law, call before you dig! Both states request 3 working days to process your utility markings

Kansas One-Call” is the underground utility notification center for the state of Kansas.  “Missouri One Call System” is the underground utility notification center for Missouri.

Quick Tips to get you started…

  • Call 811: No less than 3 days & no more than 10 working days prior to digging
  • Be prepared to provide your name, phone number, type of work & equipment to be used, along with the address and exact location of proposed dig site
  • After markings are performed, familiarize yourself with the universal color codes of the markings
  • If markings begin to fade or become unusable, request re-marking of lines
  • Never assume the depth of any utility line and always hand dig around markings
  • Hand Dig Zone: no mechanized equipment should be used within 24 inches of the markings ~ hand dig these areas only
  • We recommend to dig down next to the marked area, not on top of the locate mark, to find the facility.
  • If an unmarked facility is discovered, contact the facility owner directly and ask them to remark the area
  • Support and protect all exposed facilities from damage
  • CALL KS or MO One Call centers if damage takes place during excavation or digging ~ it is illegal to conceal or attempt to repair utilities
  • Respect the markings…Dig carefully and responsibly around all utilities

The Kansas & Missouri One Call websites provide valuable information on safe digging tips, universal color codes, and frequently asked questions. Visit Kansas One Call or Missouri One Call System for COMPLETE instructions on this important topic.