Call Before You Dig!
January 11, 2021
With the cooler weather here in Texas, you may be tempted to redo that fence or catch up on the yard work you put off during the summer heat. When doing so, it's important to remember that your Tachus fiber line is buried in your front yard. By calling in locates you can protect your fiber line and other utility lines. Texas811 is a free and easy to use service to locate any utility lines you have running in your yard. Texas law requires you to call or schedule locates online 48 business hours before starting your project.
When You Should Call 811
You should contact 811 when you are building or repairing a fence, planting a tree, installing a sprinkler system, or doing any chore that requires digging. If you have a contractor doing the work for you, it's the contractor's responsibility to contact 811, but it'll be up to you to make sure they do so. Before your contractor starts working, request an 811 ticket or notification number from them.
What to Expect When You Contact 811
You can contact 811 either by calling the number or going online to their Homeowner Portal. Both methods will always be free of charge to you. Calling by phone will lead you to a recorded message, since most requests can be handled by their automated system. The portal is an online resource that walks homeowners step-by-step through the process.
You'll be asked for information about what kind of project you are planning, where you will do it, and who will be doing the work. You'll be given a ticket number, which you should keep until after the project is complete. After Texas811 identifies which utilities are near your work area, they notify those utilities of your plans to dig. Those utilities will then send locators to your site to mark the ground with color-coded flags or paint to identify underground lines. This will generally take place during the two business days between your initial contact with Texas811 and when you be able to begin working.
The locator's marks show the lines' approximate position as they can shift slightly over time, especially in humid conditions. Texas811's guidelines state that you should dig carefully with hand tools within 18" of the markings until you can see the lines.
What to Do If You Need Emergency Repairs
During some emergencies in which you cannot wait two days, such as a broken sewer or water pipe, there are exceptions under Texas law. You would still need to contact Texas811, but you would be requesting an emergency ticket rather than a normal one. To do this, you would need to confirm that the work you plan to have done is to prevent or mitigate a situation that could endanger life, health, or property.
No digging project is too small to call Texas811 before beginning. Even hand tools can damage utility lines. According to Texas811, more than 80% of "no call" damages involving hand tools damaged gas facilities. It can prevent significant danger or damage to yourself, your neighbors, and your property. In addition to keeping you and your property safe, it's a free service, and it's easy to use. If you're planning on digging on your property, call 811 today.