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Preventing Underground Utility Damage
The only way you can be sure that you are digging safely is to Call 811 Before You Dig, and request a FREE underground utility locate.
How to Request a Locate
At least two business days before you plan on digging:
- Call 811, or Go to www.callbeforeyoudig.org.
Be sure to provide the following information:
- Where you're planning to dig, and
- What type of work you will be doing.
You will also need to outline your dig area with white paint before you call; this helps utilities identify your dig area quickly and accurately.
Digging anywhere in the state of Washington without calling for a utility locate is against state law. Failure to call may result in fines, charges for damages, and criminal convictions.
Affected local utility companies will be notified about your intent to dig. They will send a locator to mark the approximate location of your underground utilities, follow the APWA color codes so you'll know what's below - and be able to dig safely.
For more information, visit www.call811.com.
What is under your lawn?
Some underground lines in your work area may not be utility-owned. These are considered private facilities and will NOT be marked by public utility companies. Types of private facilities include, but are not limited to, heating systems for pools, electricity for an outbuilding, invisible fences, fiber optic lines, septic systems, and satellite dishes. If you think you may have private facilities you should contact a private utility locator to identify and locate them. Private Locator Options
Dig Law for Realtors
When installing any type of sign, including those used for real estate, a locate must be requested. Residential yards have numerous underground utility lines that can be damaged when installing a sign. Not only is damaging an underground utility costly, it also poses a safety hazard. Please use this link for a flyer that can be shared with real estate offices and sign installers: Dig Law for Realtors
When digging within two feet of the marked area, only use small hand tools such as a garden trowel to carefully expose the utility line. Keep in mind that utility installation is not the same for all utilities and requirements have changed through the years. Not all utilities are installed with protective casings and can be vulnerable to damage by tools as simple as a shovel. Always proceed with caution when digging around utility lines.
Utility Locate Problem?
- If a locate was late, inaccurate, or incomplete - report it to the UTC. Call 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Are you concerned about excavation occurring without locates? Call 811 and request a Safety Ticket.
- You can also file a complaint with the Washington Dig Law Safety Committee -
The safety committee may review complaints of alleged violations of this chapter involving practices related to underground facilities. Any person may bring a complaint to the safety committee regarding an alleged violation.
Direct Questions on How To File: call Jon, Program Coordinator of Washington Dig Law Safety Committee at (425) 221-1011
Dig Law Safety Committee
If you feel a violation of the state dig law has occurred, you can file a complaint with the Washington Dig Law Safety Committee. The committee, created by statutory requirement, is made up of 13 members representing a variety of stakeholders throughout the digging and utility industry. A list of the current members of the committee can be found here: Dig Law Safety Committee. The committee will hear complaints and make recommendations to the UTC for enforcement action. If you want to file a complaint with the Dig Law Safety Committee, call Jon, Program Coordinator of Washington Dig Law Safety Committee at (425) 221-1011.
April is Safe Digging Month
Before you dig into spring projects, make sure you Call 811 Before You Dig and practice safe digging!
For more information, email email@example.com