Comments we frequently hear. I am digging on private property and I know there is nothing there! Do you really know what is under yours or your customer’s lawn or property? Is there an easement or a right-of-way from a utility company on your property? Most people believe these accidents only happen to the big contractors out in the street, but there are a surprising number of people injured or killed every year planting shrubs, flowers, ornaments and fences in private yards because they did not know about that phone line, cable TV, fiber optic, power line, gas service or worse, running through the middle of the yard and failed to call for a locate. Don’t let this happen to you.
Simply put, it is a law enacted by the state of Idaho under federal mandate requiring anyone digging or moving dirt to call for subsurface utility locates. Due to the ever increasing installation of utilities under ground including phone, power, gas, cable, and fiber optics, etc., utility and property damage as well as personal injury and death had become an all too frequent problem. The law was enacted in an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate the majority of these accidents.
What are Utility Locates?
The subsurface utility locates provide information in the way of surface markings for underground utilities in the form of paint, pin flags, chalk, etc… on the ground for the person doing the excavation work as to what utilities are present and their approximate location. But you also need to be aware that some utilities only mark to a pedestal or meter where their responsibility ends. There are private companies that can be contacted to finish locates to the structure if needed. Why do I need to call for a utility locate? Because it is the law, and you can be held liable for all damages and subsequent repair work, provided you are fortunate enough to still be around to do so.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I call in a Locate?
All of the states have cooperated recently to make it simple. Just dial 811 from any phone and you will be connected with the nationwide network. After answering a couple of questions you will be routed to the local area office and will be able to process the locate request. You will be required to provide an address or physical location of the excavation work, a contact name and phone number, and the anticipated dig date as well as a description of the work to be done. The locate requires a minimum of two business days to be completed. Utilities mark their facilities as a free service, regardless of whether you become a member or not, as long as you remember to call for that locate.
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What if I'm sure there is nothing there?