Call Before You Dig
Always have your underground utilities located before digging to avoid making dangerous contact.
You must call a private locating service to locate member-owned underground lines (from the transformer to the home).
State power line locating services only locate underground lines owned by the utility. To have utility-owned underground lines located, please contact three working days in advance:
- (MN) Gopher State One Call
Call 811 or 800-252-1166 or visit http://www.gopherstateonecall.org. Gopher State One Call will arrange to locate underground facilities such as electric, gas, telephone, etc.
- (WI) Digger's Hotline
Call 811 or 800-242-8511 or visit http://www.diggershotline.com/.
If you damage a buried facility without calling for a locate, you will be financially responsible for the damage, as well as a fine of up to $2,000. Never rely solely on utility maps. They could be outdated and the markings may be off. Wait for the site to be marked. Respect all markings and dig with care.
Reading Locator Flags
Locator flags are placed within paint marks. If you find flags outside the borders of locator markings, someone may have tampered with them. Contact us right away. The following chart explains the various meanings of locator flags.
Flags and locator marks indicate the direction the utility is running. But they do not tell you how deep it is buried. The only way you can find out is to carefully expose it yourself. Hand digging is the safest way to see how deep underground utilities are buried.
- Create a tolerance zone to provide a margin of error in case the locator marks are slightly off. A tolerance zone is the width of an underground utility plus a specified distance on both sides. Do not use power-digging equipment within this zone.
- Vacuum excavators can be used safely to expose buried utilities without harming them. Just make sure the operator is trained properly.
- Never use pointed shovels or tools. Use a blunt-nosed shovel to loosen dirt and a regular shovel to remove it. Dig at an angle so the shovel is parallel to the underground utility.
- For directional drilling, make sure the drill head is at least three feet away from any utility. Always calibrate the bore head and locating device before each job. Dig potholes so you can visually see the drill head.