Why and When to Place Locate Request
Why to Place:
You may be surprised by what's buried in your yard. That's because most electric, gas, water, sewer and telecommunications companies are delivering utility services to you underground. To avoid personal injury and damage to those underground lines, state law requires you to contact MISS DIG 811 before starting a digging project, regardless of the project size or depth. MISS DIG 811's services are free, there are no fees associated with web access and if by phone, the call is free.
You can prevent injury and avoid damage by following these four important steps:
- Call or Click before you dig
- Wait the required amount of time (three business days after your request is placed)
- Respect the marks
- Dig with care
When to Place:
A locate request needs to be placed at least 3 business days prior to but no more than 14 days before conducting excavation on your property. Contact MISS DIG 811 at 1-800-482-7171 or 8-1-1 or by using e-Locate to place a locate request online.
Make sure you notify MISS DIG 811 if you are doing any of the following projects:
- Decks & Patios
- Trees or Shrubs
- Swing Sets
- Mailbox Posts
- Room Additions
- Swimming Pools
How to Place a Locate or Design Request
How to Place a Locate Request
There are three convenient ways to contact MISS DIG 811 to place a Locate Request:
1. Remote Ticket Entry (RTE) allows authorized contractors and MISS DIG Members to enter Dig Notice requests over the Internet 24/7. With basic access, regular 3 business-day tickets can be entered. RTE Users have convenient access to:
- Ticket Search – print copies of tickets, post responses to your tickets, attach documents to your tickets
- Positive Response – View the responses to your request posted by members
- NEAR Ticket – View projects that have tickets near your worksite
- Ticket Entry at your convenience: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Ticket Entry on any computer or laptop, supported with an HTML5 browser
2. e-Locate Allows contractors, members and homeowners to enter dig notice requests through our website 24/7. You can enter locate requests for excavation at a single address if you have a valid email. You will receive a confirmation email from MISS DIG 811 along with general information pertaining to the excavation project. NOTE: Your e-Locate is not valid until you receive an email confirmation from MISS DIG 811 with a start date and time.
3. 8-1-1 is the nationwide toll-free number for locate services and is staffed 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. You can also dial 1-800-482-7171 before you dig. Only one locate request per phone call is allowed.
You will be required to answer some questions when you contact the MISS DIG System to place a Locate Request, including:
- Your name and phone number.
- The contractor or person doing the work.
- The geographical location (county and city, village, or township) of the work area.
- The address where the work will be done.
- Nearest cross streets to the work site
- The type of work being done; for example, installing a fence or building a deck.
- Information about the project area that identifies the boundaries for the utility representatives; for example, locate underground utility lines 100 feet from the north side of the house; locate underground utility lines in the entire yard; or locate underground utility lines in the front yard.
- When do you plan to dig?
HOW TO PLACE A DESIGN REQUEST
The Design Ticket opens the lines of communication between designing firms and facility owners/operators.
- Participation in this program is now mandatory for all facility owners/operators. These facility owner/operators provide drawings or records for the area as described by the designer.
- All communication regarding design requests will be between the designer and the facility owner/operator.
5 Steps to Safe Digging
5 Steps to Safe Digging
- Call MISS DIG at 811 or go online at e-Locate.missdig811.org 3 business days before you dig!
- Wait for utilities to be marked
- Check Status (Positive Response) at status.missdig811.org
- Respect the marks
- Dig with care
Note: If a homeowner has hired a contractor/excavator for excavation on their property it is the responsibility of the contractor/excavator to contact MISS DIG 811 for a locate request per PA 174.
Step 1: Contact MISS DIG 811 online or by phone
At least 3 business days prior to digging on your property contact MISS DIG 811:
- By placing an e-Locate at e-suite.missdig811.org
- Or by calling:
You will receive an email with your ticket number to use later to check Positive Response status from the facility owner/operator (the Utility Company)
Step 2: Wait 3 business days for utilities to be marked
The facility owner / operators (the Utility Company) have 3 business days to go out to your property and mark where their facilities are located.
They use paint and / or flags to identify the approximate location of their lines.
Then the facility owner / operator must go online to MISS DIG 811 Positive Response to record their status of what they did to your property when they marked facility lines.
Some lines will not be marked because they are not owned by the facility company. Those will need to be marked by a private locator.
Step 3: Check status online to confirm all utilities have been marked
- You must wait 3 business days for a response from all facility owner / operators (the Utility Company), so they have time to mark their facilities with flags and / or paint.
- After the 3 business days you must go online to status.missdig811.org to verify that ALL facilities have been marked. Enter your ticket number and review the responses from the facilities.
- ALL the facility responses must be green before you can begin digging.
- If you see a yellow or red response from a facility owner/ operator and your start work date and time has arrived, then you will need to contact MISS DIG by dialing 811.
- Ask the operator for additional assistance from those facility owner/ operators who have responded with yellow or red response.
- Positive Response codes
Step 4: Hand dig when digging within 4ft. of paint or flags
You are ready to begin your project if all facilities are marked, your start work date and time has arrived, and Positive Response statuses are all green!
Make sure you know where and what facilities are in your workspace.
Look around to make sure all facilities have been marked. If you see a pedestal, meter, transformer, fire hydrant, etc. on site and no flags or paint coming from them, a facility may have been missed. Call 811 for additional assistance.
Step 5: Dig with Care
Most importantly keep yourself, family, and friends safe. Make sure you are digging in the Safe Zone (more than 4 ft out on either side of facility markings). If you are closer than 4 ft out from facility markings (in the Caution Zone) you must first, hand expose the facility lines to determine their exact location before digging to ensure you do not harm yourself or cut off service.
Do NOT remove the flags until the work is complete or after 21 days.
Digging Safely, Locating Guidelines and Utility Color Codes
After utility lines have been marked, you should always expose them by hand to verify their location before using power equipment near them. If you can't find them, please let us know.
Digging Safely Guidelines
Click the PDF links provided below to view or download
recommended marking guidelines and samples.
State of Michigan Utility Color Code
What should I do if I see someone digging without marks?
When you see someone digging without first having their utilities located & marked, simply call 811 to speak to a Notification System Representative (NSR). Tell them that you would like to place a No Marks ticket. This ticket will only be accepted through the MISS DIG 811 Notification Center; this cannot be placed online through any of our web programs.
What else do I tell them?
The NSR will ask you for the county, city/township/village, address and cross streets. You can provide the name of the excavator if you have that information, but it is not required.
Do I have to give them my name?
You do not have to give your name. You can place the call anonymously.
What happens next?
The NSR will check to see if a ticket was placed for that location and even if there was, you still have the option to submit the ticket. If there was no ticket placed, the NSR will submit the ticket which will notify the facility owner/operators in the area. The Michigan Public Service Commission, who enforces and issues penalties regarding PA 174 or the MISS DIG 811 law, is also notified and will investigate the incident.
That sounds serious, should I really report this?
According to statistics from the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) 25% of all damage to utility infrastructure is caused due to excavating without first calling 811 & having utilities located & marked. In other words, 1 out of every 4 damages could be prevented by simply contacting MISS DIG 811. You can help to keep your community safe.
Does everyone have to place a ticket if they are digging, even a homeowner?
Absolutely! Unfortunately, most of the utility damage is done by what the industry considers to be “light” excavation work; quite often when power equipment is used sparingly or not at all. The biggest offenders are fence installers, landscapers, rental companies that install tents or inflatables, sidewalk & cement contractors, & the do-it-yourself community! While Public Act 174 and its definition of excavation is concerned with power tools or equipment, there is a federal law that defines excavation as using either mechanized or non-mechanized tools. The law requests any excavator call the One-Call in their area. It’s about more than breaking the laws & penalties; it’s really all about keeping everyone safe.
What should I be looking for at a dig site
- You should see flags and/ or paint. The approximate location of any line or lines may be indicated by colored flags, paint, or both based on the situation. Each facility type has its own designated color, consistent with the nationally adopted, American Public Works Association color code:
How will I know if there are any facility lines buried at the dig site?
Look at the worksite area. If you see meters, hydrants, transformers, pedestals, or permanent gas line markers, there should be marks identifying facilities in the area. If you see a crew preparing to excavate at a worksite without any of these indicators, it’s very clear that they did not call MISS DIG 811 to have facilities located & marked.
Find more information by contacting MISS DIG 811 on the web at MISSDIG811.org or by phone at 811.