This section is designed to assist homeowners in understanding how to use the VA811 system to avoid damaging underground utility lines on their property.
Homeowners should contact VA811 by calling 811 or 1-800-552-7001 at least 3 working days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) before beginning any digging project. Virginia law requires utilities or their contract locators to mark the approximate horizontal location of their underground utilities within 48 hours beginning at 7:00 AM the next working day after you call 811. So, if you plan to do work in your yard on Saturday, you should call 811 no later than the Tuesday preceding that Saturday.
Please note that private utility lines will not be marked. 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. To better understand private utility lines, CLICK HERE. A list of underground utility line locating contractors can be found under the Resources tab.
Virginia law defines “excavate” or “excavation” as “any operation in which earth, rock, or other material in the ground is moved, removed, or otherwise displaced by means of any tools, equipment, or explosives and includes, without limitation, grading, trenching, digging, ditching, dredging, drilling, augering, tunneling, scraping, cable or pipe plowing and driving, wrecking, razing, rendering, moving, or removing any structure or mass of material. ‘Excavate’ or ‘excavation’ shall not include installation of a sign that consists of metal, plastic, or wooden poles placed in the ground by hand or by foot without the use of tools or equipment.”
Some examples include:
- Digging holes for fence posts or a mailbox
- Anchoring supports for decks or swings
- Removing tree roots
- Driving landscaping stakes into the ground
- Installing a retaining wall
Remember, even if your project is small, it’s always best to call. It’s a free service!
Check out this short video which explains the process and the importance of following the CARE message:
For additional information regarding a home project and digging safely, go to www.call811.com.