Here’s what you need to know…
Don’t gamble with your safety – if you’re a professional excavator or a homeowner, smart digging always requires a call to 811, O.U.P.S. or 1-800-362-2764. Knowing where underground utility lines are buried before you dig will help protect you from injury and prevent damages to utilities, service disruptions and potential fines and repair costs. Whether you’re planting a tree or shrub, or installing a deck or pool, every job requires a call – Even if you’ve called before for a similar project. The depth of utility lines varies, and there may be multiple utility lines in one common area. Marked lines show you the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences such as injury, service disruptions to an entire neighborhood, or costly fines and repair costs.
Follow these steps for safe digging
Call O.U.P.S., 8-1-1 or 1-800-362-2764, at least 48 hours but no more than 10 working days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) or enter it online with e-dig the easy online dig request for homeowners, before beginning any landscape or digging project on your property. For your convenience, O.U.P.S. accepts calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.
Have the following information handy when you call:
- Your county, city or township
- Digging location (street address and nearest cross street)
- Type and extent of work (front/rear/both sides of property)
- Digging start date and time
Outline the area in which you plan to dig with white paint or flags.
Wait until lines are marked before digging. Once the utility companies are notified, they will have 48 hours (excluding weekends and legal holidays) to mark their lines with colored flags, stakes or paint.
With your property marked, proceed with care, allowing at least an 18 inch “tolerance” zone on either side of the marked utility lines.
Do not remove flags, stakes or paint marks until you are finished digging. Make sure pets and young children do not disrupt or remove markers.
Also call the Ohio Oil & Gas Producers Underground Protection Service at 800-925-0988 or 614-715-2984 or visit www.ogpups.org.
Utility Color Codes
When utility company representatives mark a location, they use colored flags and/or paint to identify the type of underground service
- Red – Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables
- Yellow – Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
- Orange – Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
- Blue – Potable water
- Purple – Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines
- Green – Sewers and drain lines
- Pink – Temporary survey markings
- White – Proposed excavating
If you hit a line…
For your safety you should walk away immediately and take steps to clear the area to protect yourself and your crew. Don’t try to repair or stop a leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark, such as a cell phone.
If a substance starts releasing into the air, such as natural gas, immediately call 9-1-1. For any damaged facility, you should also contact the utility company listed on the nearest marker as well as O.U.P.S., even if there appears to be no damage. Not all damages can be detected by the naked eye.
Do you know what’s below?
Calling O.U.P.S. before you dig is the only way to determine the exact location of a utility line or underground structure.
By not calling, you risk:
- Costly property or environmental damage
- Explosion or fire on your property
- Power or utilities services interruptions
- Legal problems
- Injury — or even death