Questions from Excavators

These links provide information for anyone excavating in Virginia.

What map books do you use?

Mapping the dig site

What map books does MissUtility of Virginia use?

The Miss Utility of Virginia center no longer uses ADC®, 911, Chamber of Commerce, or VDOT maps with different grid systems. We also no longer use the statewide grid system that we once used that is based on latitude / longitude – quarter minute grids. Since 2007, we have been using mapping provided by the Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN).  VGIN’s map data gives us access to orthophotography in addition to the streets and roads.  The VGIN maps are accurate geospatial data.  Additional information on the VGIN map data can be found on their website.  http://www.vita.virginia.gov/isp/default.aspx?id=12096

When you call the Miss Utility of Virginia center, we still ask for a map book reference to assist the locators in finding the dig site. Our Damage Prevention Specialists can see ADC® Map gridshttp://www.adcmap.com on our GIS map system. This way, they can quickly move to the same area that you can see in your map book. Our new grid system is used to identify the utility owners that need to be notified of your excavation, not the map books used previously

What is Miss Utility of Virginia?

How does it work?

Can I request training on the “Miss Utility” Act (Virginia Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act) for myself, or my company?

Yes. The Virginia State Corporation Commission & VA811 Public Awareness & Training Department offer free training on the Act and the Damage Prevention program. 
Call (804) 371-9983 to contact SCC or 540-985-9355 to contact VA811 P.A.T. Dept. for details.

There is the “Miss Utility law” and there are “Miss Utility rules”. What’s the difference and how do they apply to stakeholders?

The Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act (sometimes referred to as the “Miss Utility Law”) is legislation passed by the Virginia Assembly. Only the General Assembly can change the Act. The State Corporation Commission is the agency that enforces the Act.

The Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act Rules contain certain clarifications to language and defines standards. The State Corporation Commission uses the Rules to help enforce the Act.

Both the Act and the Rules apply to all stakeholders.

Who are the stakeholders in the campaign to prevent underground utility damage?

Everyone in Virginia is a stakeholder. The utility companies and their contractors, excavators, and the general public all benefit from the campaign to prevent underground utility damage.

What do I do if one of the utility lines on my site are accidentally nicked, disturbed, or damaged in any way?

Call the utility operator immediately.(DO NOT call Miss Utility.) If there is a dangerous or emergency situation, call 911 immediately and clear the area.

Do not attempt to repair the damage yourself. Do not backfill if there is any damage.

Covering over a damaged utility line may lead to a serious accident later as the weakened line corrodes or weathers.

What do I do if the marks fade, are washed away, or are covered over by construction or demolition work before the 13 days are up?

Call Miss Utility and request re-marking (This is called a “re-mark” ticket.) This is usually completed within 48 hours/2 working days. If the marks cannot be seen, do not dig until re-marking is completed.

Can I request a re-marking of a site if I already have a valid Miss Utility ticket?

Yes. If marks become eradicated or faded and you would like to have them remarked call 811, provide the ticket number and a “REMARK” ticket will be issued. The locators have 48hrs. to respond to this type of ticket, just the same as a regular Miss Utility Ticket.

How long are the markings for a Miss Utililty ticket valid?

Fifteen working days, starting at 7 AM on the next working day after you called in the request.

Should I call today for work I plan to start in a month?

No. Call Miss Utility only for work that you plan to start within the next fifteen working days. Be sure to call at least 3 working days before you plan to dig. Calling in more than 15 working days in advance means utility locators are doing unnecessary work which may prevent them from getting to more urgent jobs.

What should I do if the Miss Utility Positive Response System confirms marking is complete, but I find clear evidence that an underground utility has been missed when I get to the jobsite? (For example I find a gas or electrical meter that does not have marks leading to it.)

If you arrive at the site of a proposed excavation and find unmarked utilities, Do NOT start digging. Call Miss Utility and report the details. Then wait three hours for the utility locator to mark the line. If, after three hours, the line is still unmarked, call Miss Utility again. Digging in the area of an unmarked underground utility line is extremely dangerous.

What do I do if the marking is not complete?

First, check the Miss Utility of Virginia Positive Response System. Extraordinary circumstances may prevent utility operators/contract locators from completing the marking within 2 working days. If one or more utilities have not marked their lines or reported “clear” or “no conflict”, they will automatically receive a second notice and should quickly have the site marked or call you to notify you of the date and time when the area will be marked.

If there are extraordinary circumstances, you must be notified and marking must be completed within 96 hours (four working days beginning at 7 AM on the next working day after the call) unless a longer time is agreed upon by both parties.

When do I start counting the 2 working day marking period?

The 2-working day marking period starts at 7 AM on the next working day after the call. It does not include weekends or official state or federal holidays. If you call Miss Utility at 10 AM on a Friday, your 2 day marking period is over at 7 AM on the following Wednesday (Saturday and Sunday don’t count).

What should I do once I call Miss Utililty?

Wait 2 full working days, beginning at 7 AM on the next working day after the call, to give the utilities time to locate and mark the underground lines. If you provide an e-mail address or fax number when you call, the Positive Response System will send you a notice when all utilities have responded to confirm that marking is complete. If you do not receive this message, you are required to call 811 or toll free 1-800-552-3120 to check the Positive Response System by telephone. Once you receive confirmation that marking is complete, you may begin excavation.

What is the Miss Utililty C.A.R.E. message?

Call Miss Utility of Virginia at 8-1-1 before you dig.
Allow required time for marking.
Respect the marks.
Excavate carefully.

Does Miss Utility do the locating and marking?

No. Utility operators or their contract locators locate and mark their own utilities

What information do you ask for on a ticket?

Click here to see the Questions we ask when you call.

Click here to view/download an Information form to use in preparation for a call.

What is a Miss Utililty ticket?

Each notice of excavation received at the Miss Utility of Virginia call center receives a “number”. This identifies the call and the information provided by the excavator. These notices are commonly known as “Miss Utility Tickets” and excavators are required to keep the “Ticket Number” with them on the jobsite. 
The Miss Utility of Virginia call center uses a numbering sequence that includes the date that the call was received. The information below explains the significance of the numbers.

  • We have two servers that can issue tickets. One is located at our Blue Hills Circle office in Roanoke, VA (server A) and the other is located at our office in the Roanoke Higher Education Center (server B). Tickets can be issued by either server and for this reason the first character in the ticket numbers is either an A or B to identify which one issued the ticket. Each server issues its own sequence number and utility owners or contract locators receive two separate “end of day notices” listing the tickets sent to them.
  • The next character indicates the year. for example 3 = 2003.
  • The next three characters (182) indicate the day of issue – the 182nd day of the year.
  • The last five characters (00001) are the sequence order of issue. (Hopefully we will not have more than 99,999 tickets in one day for years to come…

What is Miss Utililty of Virginia?

Miss Utility of Virginia® is the free “one call” Virginia information exchange center for excavators, contractors and property owners planning any kind of excavation, digging or demolition work. The name was part of the original advertising campaign in 1971 - “To miss the utilities, call “Miss Utility” before you dig.” The Miss Utility center notifies participating utilities of the upcoming excavation work so they can locate and mark their underground facilities in advance to prevent possible damage to underground utility lines, injury, property damage and service outages.

“Miss Utility of Virginia” is a registered trademark of the Virginia Utility Protection Service, Inc. – a non-profit association of underground utility owners in Virginia.

Virginia Marking Standards – Letter Designations

How to identify the paint marks

There are lots of different color lines marked on my jobsite. How do I know which color represents which type of utility?

Red electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables
Orange telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables, or conduit
Yellow natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or other gaseous or flammable material
Green sewers and drain lines
Blue potable (drinking) water
Purple reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines
White proposed excavation limits or route

How can I find a list of the assigned letter designations for each underground utililty operator.

Each utility owner has been assigned specific letter designations that are to be used to identify the paint marks at the jobsite.
Click here to see the list of assigned letter designations.

When using this page you can view the list of codes or search for the “Company” or the “Marking Code” using the quick search option. Click the “Show All” link to display the entire list. You can sort the list in either Ascending or Descending order by “Company” or “Marking Code” by clicking on the appropriate column header.

How do I identify the utility line markings at the jobsite?

Click here to see the Virginia Marking Standards booklet. 
Right click and select “Save Target As…” to save the file to your computer for faster printing.

Utility Locating Contractors

Who can I call to locate private utility lines?

How can I locate my septic tank and drain field?

Contact the State Health Department office in your county or city. Drawings with detailed measurements are required to be on file for new homes and there may be records available for older homes.

Who can I call to locate the private utility lines on my property?

Click here to see a list of underground utility locating contractors who operate in Virginia.

Does Miss Utility of Virginia locate private utililty lines?

No, the Miss Utility of Virginia notification center does not locate any underground utilities. It does send a notice to the public utility owners who have joined the notification center as required by Virginia law. The public utilityowners who receive the notice locate their lines or hire utility locating contractors to do this work. Private utility line owners (generally homeowners) must locate the lines that they own on their property or hire a locating contractor to do this work.

What are private utililty lines?

The term “private utility lines” refers to the portion of an underground utility that is generally located on private property between the meter and the building. In the case of water service lines, the meter is often located underground in a “meter box” at the property line. The water pipe from the meter box to the house is owned by the homeowner. The homeowner is responsible for maintenance of this line including repair of leaks and locating prior to excavation. In some localities, the underground sewer line from the main line in the street to the house is owned by the homeowner and is a “private utility line”. Other examples of “private utility lines” are: lawn sprinkler piping, invisible pet fence wires, electric wires to lampposts or outbuildings, and propane lines from the tank to the house.

I need help with my Web Ticket Entry account

For existing Web TE users

Web Ticket Entry Training (HTML5)-Staunton

Web Ticket Entry Training (HTML5)
Dominion Virginia Power Office
2 Technology Drive
Staunton, VA 24401

1pm – 3pm

*Please bring your laptops with you to class. While RSVP is not required it is requested -Vanessa Payne (vpayne@va811.com)

Is there a list of the types of work that go in the “Work Type” Field?

List of Work Types
Right click and select “Save Target As…” to save the file to your computer for faster printing

Is there a list of cities in Virginia? I need to know what goes in the city/county field.

Click here to see the City and County list. 
Right click and select “Save Target As…” to save the file to your computer for faster printing

Can I get a copy of the latest instructions for web ticket entry?

Click here to see the Web Ticket Entry instructions. 
Right click and select “Save Target As…” to save the file to your computer for faster printing.

How does the Positive Response System work?

Check status of marking before excavating!

A locator responded with code 70 – “Utility in conflict – operator must be present during dig”. What does this mean?

Natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline owners, sensitive communications line owners, and others may want to be on the job site when you dig near their lines. The normal procedure is for them to call you, using the contact information that you provided when you called Miss Utility of Virginia. If you do not hear from them by the end of the marking period, use the field contact information on the e-mail confirmation from the Positive Response System to call the utility company. If there is no field contact, call the Miss Utility center for assistance.

A locator responded with code 60 – “Locator and excavator agreed and documented marking schedule”. I did not agree to anything or was not contacted. What should I do?

Locators are required to document who they spoke to that agreed to the extension. It may be possible that the locator spoke to someone at the job site, so check with your staff first. If no one talked to the locator, you may want to call the utility using the “Field Contact” information found on the e-mail confirmation from the Positive Response System. If there is no field contact information, call the Miss Utility center to get a contact number or to request a 3-hour notice.

Click HERE to see a complete list of response codes.

Click here to see a complete list of response codes.

How does the positive response system work?

When you call Miss Utility of Virginia, you will be asked for an e-mail address or a fax number. If you provide either, our computer system will send you a confirmation message:  1)As soon as all utilities have posted a response on the system  2)or at the end of the 48 hour marking period (at 7 AM on the third working day after your call). In addition, our system will send you a confirmation message if any utilities post a second or third response (change their response code).

If you do not provide an e-mail address or a fax number, Virginia law requires that you call our Positive Response System at 1-800-552-3120 before any digging begins. Click here to see the script used for the telephone response system. 
Remember, you may begin excavation as soon as all utilities have responded that their facilities have been marked or that they have no facilities in the construction area.

IMPORTANT – Unless you have a dedicated fax telephone number and a fax machine that is capable of “automatically” answering an incoming fax call and receiving a message, do not provide us with your fax number. A fax number that is the same as your phone number will not work. We have received complaints about our system calling fax machines at night. Our center operates 24 /7. We make three attempts to deliver fax confirmation messages.

How can I contact the center?

Phone / Web Ticket Entry

Who should I contact if I have a question?

For fast service, call our Help Desk at 811 or 1-800-552-7001 and follow the prompts for “other questions and information.”  The Damage Prevention Specialists who answer cannot take notices of excavation, they are there to answer your questions and assist you. If you need to talk to the management staff at the center, call the business office at 540-985-9355 and select the appropriate extension below.

Accounting Department
Jim Allen, Controller – ext 2001

Human Resources Department
Elaine Roop, Director – ext 2012

Information Technology Department
Debbie Hofbauer, Director – ext 2007

Operations, Training & Public Awareness Department
Steve Light, Director – ext 2051

Chief Executive Officer
Rick Pevarski – ext 2005

What information do you ask for on a ticket?

Click here to see the Questions we ask when you call.

Click here to view/download an Information form to use in preparation for a call.

Can I enter “notices of excavation” over the Internet?

Yes, you can enter notices 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Web Tickets entered prior to midnight on any “working day” as defined in the Damage Prevention Act will have time periods calculated beginning at 7:00 AM on the next working day after they are entered. Tickets entered on weekends or holidays will have time periods that begin at 7:00 AM on the second working day after they are entered.(Normal tickets cannot be “taken” on weekends or holidays. They are treated as if they were entered on the first working day after the weekend or holiday.)
In order to get a Web Ticket Account, you will be required to participate in a training session provided by Miss Utility of Virginia (at no cost).  The Virginia Web Ticket Entry system does not just involve entering text information, it involves using our GIS mapping system as you identify your excavation area.

To request Web Ticket Entry training, please visit our Training section for information on how to get training.

What are the office hours for the Miss Utility of Virginia center?

The call center is open from 7 AM to 5 PM to take all types of “notices of excavation” by telephone.

What is an “emergency”?

Virginia state law defines an emergency as follows – “Emergency” means a sudden or unexpected occurrence involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services.

What are the Miss Utility of Virginia telephone numbers?

Call before you dig  811 or 1-800-552-7001
For normal excavation work – Press 1
For emergency excavations – Press 1 and follow prompts
Positive Response System Press 2 or call 1-800-552-3120
To reach the Help Desk – Press 3
Business Office (See “Who should I contact?” below.) 1-540-985-9355

Holidays

A list of Federal and Virginia state Holidays

What holidays does the MissUtility of Virginia call center observe?

The call center is CLOSED and only takes Emergency or 3 Hour Notice tickets on these holidays.

2016
October 10, 2016 – Columbus Day (Observed)
November 11, 2016 – Veterans Day
November 24, 2016 – Thanksgiving Day
November 25, 2016 – Day After Thanksgiving
December 26,2016 – Christmas Day (Observed)

2017
January 2, 2017 – New Year’s Day (Observed)
January 13, 2017 – Lee-Jackson Day
January 16, 2017 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 20, 2017 – George Washington Day (Known outside Virginia as President’s Day)
May 29, 2017 – Memorial Day
July 4, 2017 – Independence Day
September 4, 2017 – Labor Day
October 9, 2017 – Columbus Day (Observed)
November 10, 2017 – Veterans Day (Observed)
November 23, 2017 – Thanksgiving Day
November 24, 2017 – Day After Thanksgiving
December 25,2017 – Christmas Day
January 1, 2018 – New Year’s Day

What are the Federal and Virginia state holidays?

In addition to Saturdays and Sundays, these dates do not count as “working days” in any of the time limits cited in the Damage Prevention Act. Tickets entered by Web Ticket Entry on these dates or on weekends are entered into the computer system as if the call were received on the first working day after the holiday or weekend. The Code of Virginia defines Legal Holidays in Title 2.2, Chapter 33, Section 2.2-3300.

2016
October 10, 2016 – Columbus Day (Observed)
November 11, 2016 – Veterans Day
November 24, 2016 – Thanksgiving Day
November 25, 2016 – Day After Thanksgiving
December 26, 2016 – Christmas Day (Observed)

2017
January 2, 2016 – New Year’s Day (Observed)
January 13, 2017 – Lee-Jackson Day
January 16, 2017 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 20, 2017 – George Washington Day (Known outside Virginia as President’s Day)
May 29, 2017 – Memorial Day
July 4, 2017 – Independence Day
September 4, 2017 – Labor Day
October 9, 2017 – Columbus Day (Observed)
November 10, 2017 – Veterans Day
November 23, 2017 – Thanksgiving Day
November 24, 2017 – Day After Thanksgiving
December 25, 2017 – Christmas Day
January 1, 2018 – New Year’s Day

Excavate Carefully

How deep are the utilities?

The utility line markings are right over where my garage is being built. How can I get that line moved?

Contact the utility owner directly to obtain an estimate for relocating the utility line. You can find the phone number on your latest bill or on our “links” page.

How do I remove a shrub that is directly over the painted utility location?

Carefully expose the utility line by starting to dig from the sides of the marked utility to determine its location by using hand tools. Remember the utility can be up to 2 feet away from the mark. Once you have determined the exact location of the underground utility you will be able to safely work to remove the shrub. If you have difficulties such as the roots are severely tangled up with the lines you may want to contact the utility company that owns/services the line for further assistance. 

How deep are the utility lines?

Since July 1, 2002, Section 56-257 of the Code of Virginia has specified that underground utility lines must be installed at depths that are “in accordance with accepted industry standards”. Even if you know the date of installation of an underground utility, there is no guarantee that the line will be at a standard depth. On new home construction, the final grade of a new lawn may change as construction crews move dirt that covers the utilities. For this reason, Virginia law requires that excavators use care when excavating near marked utilities. NEVER assume that a underground utility is at a specific depth. Over time it is possible that underground utility lines will rise towards the surface due to grading, erosion, etc.

The only way to accurately determine the depth of a utility line is to carefully uncover it by hand digging. Most utility companies will not provide depth information because of the potential for error, even when using the latest electronic equipment. If you need to excavate over a marked line and you need to know the depth for the installation of a driveway, etc., carefully expose the utility by hand digging at reasonable distances along the line of excavation – as described in the Damage Prevention Act.


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