Before You Dig

Virtually anywhere you need to dig on your property, there are probably underground facilities somewhere in the vicinity. No matter how big or small your project is, you will need to have the underground lines marked. Before you dig, protect yourself and others and visit Pennsylvania’s PA One Call System or call 8-1-1 or 1 (800) 242-1776 to submit a request to have your lines marked.

Identify where you fit within the categories below and find out more information.


You can submit your locate request online or contact 811 by calling three to ten business days before you dig. Business day means any day except a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. A business day begins at 12:00:00 am and ends at 11:59:59 pm. 

You know exactly where you will be digging. The professional locators who will visit your residential property do not. The best way to communicate with them is to mark your proposed work site with white paint, flags or chalk, and to prepare before contacting 811:

  • Contact information including contact name, telephone number, and email address
  • County and municipality
  • Street number and street name
  • Nearest intersection to your property and a second intersection or nearest road
  • Location information, i.e. subdivision, latitude or longitude coordinates (if available)
  • Type of work being done, extent and method of excavation
  • Proposed excavation date and time

Find 5 Steps to Safer Digging for Homeowners.


Any person who or which performs excavation or demolition work for himself or for another person. Notification for excavation work must be made not less than 3 business days nor more than 10 business days prior to commencing excavation work starting the day the notification is received according to the Pennsylvania Underground Utility Line Protection (UULP) law. PA Act 287 of 1974, as amended by Act 50 of 2017. 

Many people believe that by notifying the One Call System of intended excavation they have completed all of their responsibilities with respect to the locating process. This is not the case. Notifying is only the first step. There are several other important considerations for excavators. Find more information, responsibilities and online tools for Excavators.


Each designer preparing a drawing requiring excavation or demolition work shall place a notification with the Pennsylvania One Call System, which allows the designer to plan the new work around the existing facilities. Pennsylvania Underground Utility Line Protection (UULP) law. PA Act 287 of 1974, as amended by Act 50 of 2017.

The information provided by the designer on the notification should cover the entire scope of the plan or development with enough detail to allow the facility owners to provide the approximate locations of their lines in the proposed work area. The two types of design notifications are: 

  1. Preliminary design: Those requesting line and facility information more than 90 business days before the final design is to be completed shall state in their requirements the request is a preliminary design
  2. Final design: Design notifications which are not less than 10, nor more than 90 business days in advance of the final design

Find more information, responsibilities and online tools for Designers and Project Owners.