1. What do I do before I excavate?
  2. What does pre-mark mean?
  3. I am a homeowner putting in a mailbox post. Do I have to call Dig Safe?
  4. What is an excavation?
  5. When can I begin excavating?
  6. I am a homeowner and have hired a contractor to do the excavation. Who is responsible for calling Dig Safe?
  7. Do all utilities mark facilities on private property?
  8. How should I dig when I am close to the markings?
  9. What should I do if I hit or damage an underground utility facility?
  10. What do I do if a utility company does not mark out its underground facilities?
  11. What do I do if a utility company fails to accurately mark out its underground facilities?
  12. What do I do if the markings become faded or obliterated?
  13. I need a copy of my Dig Safe ticket, how do I get one?
  14. What do I do if I see someone not complying with the Dig Safe Law?

What do I do before I excavate?

Before any excavation - even on private property - first pre-mark your excavation area and then call Dig Safe. The phone number is: 1-888-DIG-SAFE, or simply dial 8-1-1. This is a free service and only takes a few minutes.

When you call Dig Safe, you are asked to describe the specific location where you will be excavating. If your excavation project expands outside of that location, you must call Dig Safe again. Excavating outside of the area you described when you called and premarked is a violation of the law.

If you don't begin your excavation project within 30 days of calling Dig Safe, your Dig Safe ticket expires and becomes invalid. If your Dig Safe ticket expires you must call Dig Safe for a new ticket.

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What does pre-mark mean?

"Pre-mark" means mark the area where you plan to dig with white paint or stakes. This is required by the Dig Safe Law.

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I am a homeowner putting in a mailbox post. Do I have to call Dig Safe?

Yes, it is an excavation! You have to call Dig Safe.

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What is an excavation?

An excavation is simply movement or removal of earth, rock or materials in the ground. In Massachusetts, the Dig Safe Law defines "excavation" very broadly. When in doubt, call Dig Safe!

The Dig Safe Law defines excavation as:

an operation for the purpose of movement or removal of earth, rock or materials in the ground including, but not limited to: digging; blasting; augering; backfilling; test boring; drilling; pile driving; grading; plowing in; hammering; pulling in; jacking in; trenching; tunneling; and demolition of structures.

An excavation is NOT (1) excavation by tools manipulated only by human power for gardening purposes and (2) blasting for quarrying purposes.

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When can I begin excavating?

You must contact Dig Safe at least 72 business hours in advance of the time you plan to excavate. Do not count a Saturday, Sunday or holiday as one of the three days.

Dig Safe will give you the "start time," which is 72 business hours from the time you call. You cannot excavate until the start time.

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I am a homeowner and have hired a contractor to do the excavation. Who is responsible for calling Dig Safe?

It is the contractor's responsibility to have a valid Dig Safe ticket. A homeowner may call Dig Safe on behalf of the contractor, but the homeowner is not obligated to do so.

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Do all utilities mark facilities on private property?

Not all utilities mark their facilities on private property. For example, electric companies and municipal water and sewer departments do not mark electric lines on private property because they don't own or maintain them. Furthermore, municipal water and sewer companies are not required to join Dig Safe and they may not mark underground facilities on your property. You may hire a private locator to mark lines that are not marked by utility companies, but you have no obligation under the Dig Safe law to do so. Click here for a listing of private locators. http://www.digsafe.com/privatelocators.php

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How should I dig when I am close to the markings?

Utility companies will mark their underground facilities with paint or flags in the area you identified to Dig Safe. You must hand dig near those markings to avoid damaging underground facilities.

Be careful! Some underground facilities may be shallow. Shallow depth of an underground facility is not a defense.

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What should I do if I hit or damage an underground utility facility?

The law requires that you immediately notify the utility company that is affected, even if it is minimal damage. Call 911 if there is a potential public safety concern.

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What do I do if a utility company does not mark out its underground facilities?

Report this to the DPU. A utility company must mark its underground facilities by the time your Dig Safe number becomes valid. Failure to do so is a violation of the Dig Safe law. If a utility company does not mark on time, you should submit a Dig Safe violation report pdf format of Dig Safe Violation Report
file size 1MB to the Department of Public Utilities.

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What do I do if a utility company fails to accurately mark out its underground facilities?

If a utility company fails to accurately mark its underground facilities, you should call the utility company and file a Dig Safe violation report pdf format of Dig Safe Violation Report
file size 1MB with the Department of Public Utilities. Do not continue to excavate until the problem is corrected. Failure to mark accurately is a violation of the Dig Safe law (the markings should not be "off" by more than 18 inches). You should also contact Dig Safe for a re-mark.

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What do I do if the markings become faded or obliterated?

Over time, underground facility markings become faded, worn and difficult to see. Underground utility marks should be refreshed as often as necessary to keep the marks clearly visible. This is done by either calling Dig Safe for a re-mark, or refreshing the marks yourself by applying new paint to the existing marks that have become faded. When requesting a remark through Dig Safe, Inc. underground utility locators are required to remark within 24 hours.

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I need a copy of my Dig Safe ticket, how do I get one?

You can get one upon request. Dig Safe Inc. maintains records of Dig Safe tickets and will provide you one for a fee. Call Dig Safe at 1-888-DIGSAFE or 811, or visit http://www.digsafe.com/company_faq.htm#10 for guidance.

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What do I do if I see someone not complying with the Dig Safe Law?

You can submit a Dig Safe violation report pdf format of Dig Safe Violation Report
file size 1MB to the Department of Public Utilities.

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This information is provided by the Department of Public Utilities.