Smart digging means knowing where utility lines are buried before you dig in order to protect yourself from injury, and prevent damage to underground utility lines. One easy call starts the process of getting underground utility lines marked for free. Homeowners often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees or installing a mailbox. Digging without calling can disrupt utility service to an entire neighborhood, harm you and those around you, result in high repair cost, and potentially result in fines. Be Protected. Call 811.
- Homeowner responsibilites
How to Start
1. Make the call, Dial 811, 406-755-8344 or 800-551-8344.
Request the locate two full business days before digging (not including the day you make the request). If you’re planning a weekend project, the latest you should call is Tuesday. Montana 811 then notifies the member utilities, who will send a locator to mark your utility lines with flags and/or paint markings.
When you call, you will be asked to provide the following information:
- Name, phone number, alternate contact.
- Excavator/contact person and phone number.
- Address, city, county and nearest intersection of the dig site.
- Reason for the digging.
- Where on the property you need locate marking done.
- How you have the dig area identified (white paint is preferred)
- Specific directions to your property – landmarks, etc.
Note: Montana 811 members typically locate only those underground facilities they own. Water and sewer companies locate main water lines in easements and rights-of-way and lines to a water meter, but may not locate the water facilities from a meter to a home or sewer laterals. Electric companies usually locate their lines to homes and businesses, but not those running to swimming pool pumps and heaters, irrigation systems or another building on the property. Private underground facilities can be located by hiring a contract locator or keep a detailed drawing of where you placed the private lines.
2. What happens next
After all information is complete, your request will be assigned a ticket number. This ticket is immediately sent to all members (utility companies) with underground services near your area. Once notified, members or their locators have two full business days to locate and mark the underground lines. Day one begins the day AFTER you call. Each of the colored marks corresponds to a specific service.
3. At the dig site
When you’re ready to begin digging, please keep these things in mind…
- The marks on the ground represent the approximate location of the underground lines.
- Hand Dig only within 18-inches on either side of those marks. No machine digging within 18 inches of the marked lines – that’s the law.
- If you accidentally damage, dislocate or disturb any utility line, call 811, 1-800-551-8344 or 755-8344 to report the incident immediately.
- Take precautions to safeguard your health and property by turning off any equipment, extinguish all flames including cigarettes and move away from the area.
- The marks are valid for 30 calendar days. Please tell children that the flags are not toys and should not be removed from the ground.