Ready to Dig? Read This First!

You have planned your project, made the necessary calls to 811,
and now you’re ready to dig…What are the next steps?

What to remember when you’re ready to dig:

When making excavations using traditional or trenchless
technologies (type of subsurface construction with minimal disruption to surface traffic), make sure do the following:

  1. When excavating, make sure to maintain a reasonable distance of clearance between underground utilities and the cutting edge or point of the powered equipment.
  2. Until the entire excavation process is complete, preserve all markings of tolerance zones to ensure nothing is damaged.
  3. Have someone visually monitor the excavation activity other than the operator during the entire process to ensure the equipment is not breaching the tolerance zones of underground utilities.
  4. To prevent damage, conduct the excavation within the underground utility tolerance zones AT ALL TIMES.
  5. Make sure to excavate up to the total depth of the excavation to determine the precise location of underground utility facilities and/or verify that the total depth of excavation is free of such facilities.


If the markings of underground utilities that were made are destroyed or removed before the excavation project has been completed, the excavator should immediately notify the appropriate utility company and let them know that the markings have been destroyed or removed, and the utility will make another trip to remark them, as needed. Digging without knowing where the utilities are located could lead to fines, out of pocket repairs, injuries, and even death. 

So, what do the markings and colors mean?

Ready to Dig? Read This First! What do the colors mean?


“Tolerance Zone” means the site of the underground utilities including the width of the underground utility facility plus eighteen inches on each side. Methods of excavation within this area include, but not limited to:

Have an excavation project in mind, but not sure where to start? Call 811 to locate your utilities and then make the Underground Detective your second call!


Ready to Dig? Read This First!
Article Name
Ready to Dig? Read This First!
You've planned your project, made the necessary calls to 811, & now you're ready to dig. What are the next steps? What to remember when you're ready to dig: