Virginia law requires that you follow these four steps to dig safely and prevent utility service interruptions:
Call before you dig.
Call Miss Utility of Virginia, 811 or 1-800-552-7001, at least 48 hours (excluding weekends and legal holidays) before beginning any project that requires excavation or demolition. Professional excavators may notify Miss Utility of Virginia online at www.missutilityofvirginia.com. Training is required to use the Web-based system. After you call, Miss Utility informs all member utilities that may have facilities in your proposed area of excavation.
Allow time for marking.
• After you contact Miss Utility, wait 48 hours, beginning 7:00 a.m. the next working day (Working days exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and legal state and national holidays) following notice, to allow the utilities to mark their
• You may begin excavation earlier if Miss Utility informs you that no utility operators will be
• If you confirm the status of your marking request from Miss Utility's pos itive response system (1-800-552-3120) that all applicable utility operators have either marked their lines, or indicated that the area is clear of their utility, or not in conflict with your work. Miss Utility can provide you with this information via a FAX or other mutually acceptable means of transmitting and receiving the marking status information. However, if you do not have the capabilities to receive the marking status automatically from Miss Utility, you must contact
Miss Utility’s positive response system after waiting 48 hours and before beginning your project.
Respect the marks.
• Protect and preserve the line-location markings from the time the excavation or demolition begins until they are no longer required for the proper and safe excavation near the utility lines.
• Request remarking at anytime the markings become illegible for any reason.
Conduct a site inspection before beginning your project. Look for clear evidence of unmarked utilities. Clear evidence includes, but is not limited to, visual evidence of an unmarked utility line; knowledge of the presence of a utility line; or faded marks from previous markings.
• If clear evidence of an unmarked utility line is identified, contact Miss Utility and notify them. Wait three hours from the time you notified Miss Utility before proceeding (if after three hours, the operator(s) has not responded, you are encouraged to call Miss Utility again).
• Take all reasonable steps to properly protect, support and backfill underground utility lines. When crossing an existing underground utility line, such steps include, but may not be limited to:
1. Exposing the utility line to its extremities by hand digging;
2. Not utilizing mechanized equipment within two feet of the extremities of all exposed utility lines; and,
3. Protecting the exposed utility line from damage. In addition, for excavations parallel to an existing utility line, such steps include, but may not be limited to, hand digging at reasonable distances along the line of excavation.
• Exercise due care at all times to protect underground utility lines when exposing these lines by hand digging.
For more information about these steps and everyone’s responsibility under Virginia law, visit www.missutilityofvirginia.com.