Montana One Call Center

1-800-551-UDIG (8344) or 406-755-UDIG or 811 info@montana811.com

Menu
FAQ

YES, in virtually every case! Whether you are a homeowner, contractor, excavator or farmer — anyone who performs any excavation must request a “locate”, commonly called a locate “ticket”. If you are digging in the ground (other than very shallow hand digging, such as less than 4 inches) you are required to have the dig area marked indicating the location of underground utilities.Montana Law states “…an excavator may not make or begin an excavation without first obtaining information concerning possible location of an underground facility from each public utility, municipal corporation, underground facility owner, or other person having the right to bury underground facilities that is a member of a one-call notification center…” Montana Code Annotated 2013, 69-4-502.

Montana Law further states “…before beginning an excavation, the excavator shall notify, through a one-call notification center, all owners of underground facilities in the area of the proposed excavation.” Montana Code Annotated 2013, 69-4-503.

The easiest way to begin the process is to dial 811; this will take you to the appropriate One Call Center to place your locate request.

Nothing. Your request for a locate ticket is a free service. It’s provided by area utility companies, municipalities, and other public and private agencies whose purpose is to make the excavating process safe. There may be a charge to have your private lines located since member utilities only mark their own buried facilities. Privately owned buried facilities will not be marked, but you can call 811 and we will refer you to a company who may mark private facilities for a fee.

After you have called and requested a locate, you will be given a ticket number. This number identifies your requested locate. It is important for you to write down and keep this number if you should need to call 811 again for anything related to your locate request.

Anytime. You can call 811 or 406-755-8344 or 1-800-551-8344 anytime day or night, weekends or holidays for a locate ticket number. The One Call Center operates all day, every day – we never close. You may also submit a locate ticket request online. This process is easy, quick and free. When you submit a locate ticket request online, you will receive a confirmation of your request via email – assuming the submitted information is complete and able to be processed.If the information is incomplete you will be notified as to the reasons why within 3 hours. If you have not received a ticket number, your locate request cannot be completed. This process does require you to have a valid email address in order for you to receive your confirmation number or rejection information should the information you furnished be incomplete. Most importantly, never assume that your responsibility ends when “submit” is clicked. It is your responsibility to verify that you have received a copy of the ticket. If you do not receive an email with your ticket from the One Call Center, you are NOT cleared to dig. If you are ever in doubt, please call 811.

Currently only authorized contractors with IDs and passwords can use the online feature.

When you submit a locate ticket request online, you will receive a confirmation of your request via email – assuming the submitted information is complete and able to be processed. If the information is incomplete you will be notified within 3 hours as to the reasons why. If you have not received a ticket number, your locate request cannot be completed. This process does require you to have a valid email address in order for you to receive your confirmation number or rejection information should the information you furnished be incomplete.

Most importantly, never assume that your responsibility ends when “submit” is clicked. It is your responsibility to verify that you have received a copy of the ticket. If you do not receive an email with your ticket from the One Call Center, you are NOT cleared to dig. If you are ever in doubt, please call 811.

In most cases the person doing the excavating or digging should be the person making the call since they have the best information as to when, where and what the digging will be. This is preferred but not required, the property owner may call as well, but it is best to coordinate with the excavator.

  • Your name, company name (if applicable), phone number, and alternate contact information if you cannot be reached.
  • The purpose of the dig.
  • Date of the digging. (locators need two full business days to locate)
  • The address of the dig location and the nearest intersection or cross-street. (We don’t care if the nearest cross-street is 10 miles away, it will still help us identify the location.) If you don’t have a specific address; distance and directional information can be given.
  • The name and phone number of the property owner for whom the digging is being done.
  • Depth of the dig and the size of the dig area.
  • How will the dig area identified/marked so that the locators will know where they must locate.

(Preferred markings are white paint, flags, stakes, strings; something labeled as being the dig site.)

You may request a site meet, but site meets are difficult to arrange and cannot be guaranteed. In most cases there will be several “line-locators” going to the dig site, thus making it nearly impossible to coordinate a site meet. It is best to identify clearly where the dig site will be using white paint, stakes, flags, etc.

Depth of buried facilities varies greatly because: soil erodes and settles over time, soil surface areas get moved around (such as grading or smoothing) or get more ground cover by the addition of new soil (fill). Also, buried lines can move because of continued freezing and thawing. Water and sewer lines are usually deeper since they need to be protected from freezing. Electrical, communication, and natural gas lines are shallower since they are not as susceptible to freezing. Line locating does NOT tell the depth, only the approximate horizontal location of buried facilities.

Yes and No. Most utility companies will only locate up to their meter or termination point. Buried facilities beyond the meter are considered ‘private’ or customer owned facilities and will not be located by the utility company. For example; if the meter box is located on the side of a building, then yes, the utility will locate to that meter.However, if the meter box is located on a pole or pedestal in the yard or alley, the line running beyond the meter to your building may not be located. You will need to contact a private locating company to locate those underground utilities. You may also call the One Call Center at 811 and we will refer you to a private line locating company.

The utility companies will send their locators to mark the utility lines in your proposed digging area with flags and/or paint markings. The colors of the marked utility lines correspond to the type of utility and specific service that has been located. Be sure to remind children that the flags are not toys and should not be removed from the ground. See the color code listing within this web site for further details. It is suggested that you identify the dig site with white paint or stakes/string or flags.

Two full business days (not including the day you call, Saturday or Sunday or the six legal holidays that Montana Dig Law excludes) after you call and have received your locate request ticket number.(Example: You call on Friday and Monday is a holiday, you will not be able to dig until Thursday.) If your dig site is in an area that is underwater, you must call 10 full business days before digging.

These six legal holidays are; New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

NO! Never assume that all buried facilities have been completed until the two full business days have passed.

Be sure to examine the paint marks/lines closely. The colors correspond to the type of buried facility. Refer to the color code chart in this web site. The lines should pass through the entire dig area you identified. The locating people will not mark lines beyond the designated dig area. Paint “writing” such as “No” or “OK” with the utility name and the corresponding color mark, may indicate that the locator came to the dig site and found that specific utility does not have buried facilities in the designated dig area. If you are ever in doubt, please call 811 for clarification of the marking information.

The marks on the ground represent the approximate location of the underground utility lines. You may dig up to 18 inches from either direction of the marked located lines by mechanical means. In Montana, 18 inches is considered the tolerance distance.If you have to get closer than 18”, you must use a hand shovel or vacuum excavator, and carefully located the buried facility ensuring that you do not damage the utility. If you do damage, disturb or dislocate any utility line, even just a nick, scuff or scratch, you must stop digging and call 811 for an emergency locate so the utility company can be notified.

If you have a blowing “leaking” gas line, call 911 immediately, evacuate the dig site immediately, do not light any cigarettes, shut down any excavation equipment, stay away from the dig area! Call the One Call Center at 811 immediately and request an Emergency Locate. Give to the Call Center your locate ticket number along with all of the details about the uncovered utility line. The Call Center will notify all appropriate utility companies who will send their line-locating person to the dig site.It is important for you to STOP digging and to stay away from the dig area until the dig site have been cleared by all of the utility locating people. Also, turn off any equipment being used at the dig site. Should the line uncovered be a natural gas line, there could be great danger of explosion; thus extreme caution needs to be taken to prevent personal harm.

The located marks are good for 30 calendar days, assuming they are still readable and have not been destroyed. If the marks are no longer readable, you must call for a refresh/remark of the located marks, within the original 30 day time frame. If 30 calendar days have expired, you must call for a NEW locate request ticket number.

No! You must call 811 and request a NEW locate ticket number for any delayed digging beyond 30 days. By law all locate ticket requests expire after 30 calendar days from the original request date.

You need to call 811 for an update to the original locate request. It is best that you do this at least two business days before the original locate request expires so you will not have an interruption to your work. If you delay until the expiration date, you will have to stop work until the locators have remarked the site.

NO! Never assume that you can tell where the underground utilities are. You must call 811 and obtain a new ticket number for the additional / expanded dig area.

Montana Law, Montana Code Annotated 2013 69-4-501 defines it as “to alleviate a condition that constitutes a clear and present danger to life or property; or repair a customer outage involving a previously installed utility-owned facility.” Call 811 for an emergency locate. Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency. False emergency locates can be prosecuted the same as making a false 911 call.

Call 811 and explain that you have an emergency situation that needs to be located right away. The appropriate utility companies will be notified and they will mark their buried facilities right away.

Call 811 and explain your situation, and also explain when the digging will be done. Your request will be processed as a “planned emergency” so that the appropriate utility companies can still be notified and the buried facilities will be marked within the “planned” dig time frame.

If your digging is not continuous, but rather you dig in one location then pick up and dig in another location, and each location has a separate address, each dig site must be considered as a separate dig and will require its own ticket number to identify that location.

As a general rule you will not be held responsible for the repairs. However, there can be exception to this. For example: If you have not maintained the locate markings during the digging process; if you machine dug within the 18” tolerance area; if you dug beyond the original dig area submitted, if you dug after the 30 days original locate ticket expiration date, and there may be other such situations.

Montana 811 / Montana One Call is an 811 Call Center which gathers excavating / digging information and efficiently communicates between the excavators and the utility companies who may own underground facilities. The owners of these underground facilities/utilities are required by law to provide information about the location of their buried services to excavators. They may send their own employees to provide (locate) this information, or they may contract with a private line locating company to do that for them.Utility members only mark their buried facilities. Privately owned power lines, propane or natural gas lines, sewer service lines, septic tank, water lines, satellite cable lines, private phone lines, underground sprinkler systems, etc., are not marked. The owners of those buried facilities are responsible to identifying their location.

No. Montana One Call Center / Montana 811 is a privately owned 811 One Call Center located in Kalispell, Montana. We are a single-point message center for excavators, contractors, homeowners, property owners, etc. to call to request line locates. From the information gathered, we identify which utility companies need to be notified of the pending excavation, who in-turn are responsible for going to the dig site and identifying their buried facilities.

Yes. Your locate request will be treated as an emergency request due to the immediate nature of your need. Call 811 for your locate request.

Yes. Pounding posts is considered digging. You must call 811 to request a locate. Calling is free, it’s easy, and it’s the law.

Generally speaking, shallow hand digging (such as less than 4 inches) for planting flowers does not require line locates. If you are rototilling (a machine) a garden, you must call 811 for a locate. Digging for planting shrubs, trees, bushes and other such items which require deeper digging, line locates should be requested. Should you “hit” a buried utility line and you have not called for a line locate you may be held responsible for the repair charges. The locate request is a free service, be safe not sorry.Don’t risk hitting a buried utility line, possibly doing injury to yourself or causing unnecessary property damage.

Yes. If you are doing any digging ‘or shifting of dirt’ by mechanical means, you must call 811 for a locate request.

Yes and No. If you are shallow hand digging (such as less than 4 inches), you do not need to request a locate.If you are rototilling a garden (any mechanical digging), you must call 811 and request a locate. If you are ever in doubt, please call and request a locate. It’s free. It’s easy. Be safe.