Call or Click Before You Dig!
Safe digging is everyone’s responsibility. It’s a free service to notify SC811 of your planned excavation to help prevent damages that may result in fines, utility service interruption and injury – even death. Please see the information below that details how to excavate safely.
5 Steps to Safe Digging
- Request a locate or call 811 to request for your lines to be marked.
- Wait the required amount of time. For normal notice tickets, you must wait three full business days, not including the day you requested your locate.
- Check positive response (call 811 or 888-721-7877) to ensure that all the lines at your dig site have been marked.
- Respect the marks. Keep your marks in tact and call for a re-mark if the marks are destroyed by weather or other construction related activity.
- Dig carefully around buried utilities.
Submitting a Locate Request
To request a locate notice online, create an Exactix account and enter a ticket. If there are any inquiries about creating an online account reach out to our Help Desk at 1-800-290-2783 Option 1.
What to Know for Homeowners Using SC811 for the First Time
The Basics of Safe Digging
The APWA (American Public Works Association) standardizes a color code for markings that represent buried utilities underneath them. These can take the form of paint, flags, and/or stakes:
When digging in these areas, excavators must observe the Tolerance Zone. This is an area 24 inches (0.6 m) on either side of the marked line. In the Tolerance Zone, only manual handheld tools (such as trowels, shovels, and post hole diggers) can be used. Mechanized equipment (including jackhammers, backhoes, and powered augers) may NOT be used unless:
a) the buried utility has been revealed by hand digging; or
b) the excavator has confirmed that the utility is not present up to their target depth.
The excavator is also responsible to ensure reasonable precautions are taken to avoid any substantial weakening of the facility’s structural or lateral support, or both, or penetration or destruction of the facilities or their protective coatings.
Frequently Asked Questions from Homeowners
- Q: Why is my yard marked with paint and/or flags but I did not request a locate notice?
A: Utility companies mark the lines they install and maintain. In addition, they could also have easements on your property. An up to date survey of your property would show where they are. Other contractors could also be doing work nearby.
- Q: Did 811 mark my yard?
A: No. Only utility locators who work for or with the utility companies mark the property. SC811 is a communication resource for damage prevention of underground infrastructure, dedicated to the education, success, and safety of our stakeholders and the public.
- Q: I am a homeowner who hired a company to do work for me. Who should call in the notice?
A: The company or person who is doing the actual excavation work should be the one calling in or doing the locate request.
When should I contact a private locator?
Private locators are used when underground utilities are used outside of a utility company’s right of way. An example of a private utility is a utility that may be installed by the homeowner or a contractor. Sewer lines to a septic tank, a well, and electricity to a shed on a homeowner’s property are some of many typical private utilities. Click here to view a list of private locators.
Homeowner DIY Ideas
(courtesy of Lowe’s® Home Improvement)
Excavation tools for DIY projects
(courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens®)
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Still Have Questions?
We appreciate your diligence in keeping South Carolina’s underground utilities safe! If you still have questions, you can hit the Chat Now link in the bottom right, use our Contact Form, or call our Help Desk at 1-800-290-2783 opt. 1.