811 is a federally-mandated national “Call Before You Dig” phone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate the confusion of multiple “Call Before You Dig” numbers.
One easy phone call to 811 quickly begins the process of getting underground utility lines marked. Local One Call Center personnel will then notify affected utility companies, who will send crews to mark underground lines for free.
Knowing where underground utility lines are buried before each digging project begins helps to prevent injury, expense, and penalties. The depth of utility lines may vary, and multiple utility lines may exist in one area. Simple digging jobs can damage utility lines and can disrupt vital services to an entire neighborhood, harm those who dig, and result in expensive fines and repair costs. Marked lines show those who dig the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences.
Those who dig are aware of “Call Before You Dig” services, but often make risky assumptions about where utility lines are buried or when they should call. 811 will let diggers know what’s below when they call before they dig.
5 Steps for Getting Your Utilities Marked
Before you contact Indiana 811, you will need to know specific details about where you plan to dig, including the street address, county and township. You will also need the name and phone number of the person or company who will be doing the digging. We recommend you mark the designated area with white paint or flags so the utility operators will only mark that area.
Make a free call to Indiana 811 by simply calling 811 or (800) 382-5544. You can also visit the 811Now website to request underground facility markings at a single address. After contacting Indiana 811, you will be given a ticket number and a list of all the utility operators who will be responding to your request. Indiana 811 will also answer any questions you have about the utility locating process.
The marking process typically takes 2 full working days, meaning if you contact Indiana 811 on a Tuesday, the utility operators have Wednesday and Thursday to mark the approximate location of lines. Each line will be marked in the color that corresponds to the appropriate utility.
After 2 full working days, confirm that all utility operators have visited your property by comparing the various colors of the marks on your property to the list of utilities given to you. If a utility operator does not locate a utility line in the designated area, a representative will let you know they do not have a conflict by calling you, or painting an “OK” along with the company’s initials in the corresponding utility color. For example, if you do not have a gas line running through the area, the utility operator will write an “OK” in yellow paint in the designated area.
Now that your utility lines are marked, you can begin digging with care. Indiana state law mandates a 2-foot safety zone on either side of the marks. In the safety zone, you can only dig with hand tools. The size of the safety zone will depend on the size of the underground facility, which is sometimes noted by the utility locating technicians. For example, if a water line is marked as 6 inches wide, the safety zone on both sides of the line is 2 feet 3 inches from the mark. You will only want to use mechanical equipment outside of the zone after you have exposed the line(s) by safely digging with hand tools.