Call Before You Dig

Call Before You Dig

For safety's sake, it's against state law to dig a hole more than one foot deep without notifying utility companies (CALL: 811) at least two days in advance.

Really. It’s right there in the “Revised Code of Washington, 19.122”.

Call 811 Before You DigOK, why does this program exist? It protects you from being injured if you hit an underground power line, and protects your neighbors from losing power.

In a nutshell, you need to contact the Utilities Underground Locate Center at least two working days before you plan to start digging. They have a toll free number to make it easy: 1-800-424-5555.

When you call, make sure you’re ready to tell them what you’re going to do, the location of your project, and your contact information.

Hitting Underground Power Lines Can Be Shockingly Expensive

Imagine this: you’re digging and hit underground utilities. Your work causes damage.

At the very least, you could be responsible for paying the cost of fixing things. If you were digging without calling for someone to come locate the utilities damages could be triple!

You should contact us as soon as possible if you hit an underground power line while digging.

If you will be digging a trench, be sure to check out our trenching specs and requirements.

How it works

  • Call 811 from anywhere in the county a few days prior to digging and your call will automatically be routed to the local one call center.  
  • You'll give the operator information about how to contact you, where you are planning to dig and what type of work you will be doing. Your quick conversation with the operator will last a few minutes.
  • Utility companies who have potential facilities in the area of your dig site will be notified about your intent to dig.
  • Each affected utility company (including the PUD) will send a locator to mark the approximate location of your underground utility lines.  This typically occurs within 2-3 working days.
  • Wait the required amount of time for affected utility operators to respond to your request.
  • Confirm that all affected utility operators have responded to your request and marked underground utilities.
  • Respect the marks.
  • Dig Carefully around the marks with care.

Keep in mind that NOT everything gets located

Remember, PUD 3 customers own their own underground service wire, however the PUD's locator will locate the service wire up to the meter. Sometimes there are other service wires that are installed on the property that the PUD is unaware of. Some of the services the PUD's locator will not locate include:

  • Customer owned underground secondary/service wires beyond the meter
  • Outdoor lighting wires
  • Low voltage wires
  • Communication wires (cable, phone, CAT5, etc.)
  • Well water pipes, irrigation lines, and septic systems
  • Gas or propane lines

This interactive map may help to visualize the line of responsibility for locating underground utilities.

The property owner is responsible for requesting private locates for the purpose of locating all private utilities on the property, and the subsequent removal of all obstacles. A partial list of private utility locators that perform work in Mason County is available here. The full state-wide list from Washington 811 is available here.

Here’s the Legal Stuff

The Revised Code of Washington, 19.122, requires that persons contact the Utilities Underground Locate Center (1-800-424-5555) two working days (48 hours) in advance of excavation on PUD 3's property or public agency right-of-way. The law defines excavation as: "…any operation in which earth, rock or other material on or below the ground is moved or otherwise displaced by any means, except the tilling of soil less than 12 inches in depth for agricultural purposes, or road and ditch maintenance that does not change the original road grade or ditch flow line."

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