Call Before You Dig
Avoid Careless Damage and Accidents
Texas law requires utilities and pipeline owners to register their underground facilities in every county - and for excavators to contact every potentially affected operator before they start to dig. Excavators include fence builders, swimming pool contractors and landscapers. Homeowners who do this type work themselves may also be considered excavators. Anyone digging in the vicinity of a pipeline should use the free 811 One Call system to be sure they know where they can safely dig.
Here’s how this free service works. Calling 811 from wherever you are will route your call to the appropriate local One Call center that alerts pipeline and cable owners to mark their buried assets. Excavators including homeowners must call at least two full business days before digging starts. (Calls received with less than two business days notice are considered non-compliant requests under state law.) In less than five minutes, the excavator can complete a locate request ticket to have all utilities located with paint and/or flags at the proposed dig site.
A "locate request call" sets the following process in motion:
- Operators with underground facilities in the vicinity of the planned excavation are notified by local one-call center. This includes natural gas and power utilities, communications companies, and cities and towns.
- Operator crews or their subcontractors either mark their underground facilities or tell the excavator they have no lines in the area.
- Excavators or homeowners can recognize the type of line marking on a site by using the following color code:
- Red = Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables
- Yellow = Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
- Orange = Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
- Blue = Potable water
- Green = Sewer and drain lines
- Pink = Temporary survey markings
- White = Proposed excavation
Pipeline Safety Considerations
When planning your landscaping projects, avoid planting trees or large shrubs near your natural gas meter. As the tree grows, it can exert forces on your meter setting, which could result in damage to the gas pipeline facilities.
You can help enforce safety laws by shutting down any contractors you are using who do not use the One Call system. For example, if your fence or pool contractor starts digging before you see any paint or flags in your yard, you will know he probably is not complying with the One Call law. By shutting down the excavation work, you will be protecting your own property by preventing damage to gas, electric, water and communication facilities.
For more information about pipeline safety, visit Pipeline Safety Awareness Alliance.