Call Before You Dig! Guidelines For Preventing Underground Utility Damage

Preventing Underground Utility Damage

The only way you can be sure that you are digging safely is to Call 811 Before You Dig, and request a FREE underground utility locate.

How to Request a Locate

At least two business days before you plan on digging:

Be sure to provide the following information:

  • Where you’re planning to dig, and
  • What type of work you will be doing.

Affected local utility companies will be notified about your intent to dig. They will send a locator to mark the approximate location of your underground utilities, following the color codes to the right, so you’ll know what’s below – and be able to dig safely.

Digging anywhere in the state of Washington without calling for a utility locate is against state law. Failure to call may result in fines, charges for damages, and criminal convictions.

For more information, visit

Smart Digging

When digging within two feet of the marked area, only use small hand tools such as a garden trowel to carefully expose the utility line. Keep in mind that utility installation is not the same for all utilities and requirements have changed through the years. Not all utilities are installed with protective casings and can be vulnerable to damage by tools as simple as a shovel. Always proceed with caution when digging around utility lines.

Utility Locate Problem?

If a locate was late, inaccurate, or incomplete – report it to the UTC. Call 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or email You can also file a complaint with the Washington Dig Law Safety Committee.

Dig Law Safety Committee

Iif you feel a violation of the state dig law has occurred, you can file a complaint with the Washington Dig Law Safety Committee. The committee, created by statutory requirement, is made up of 13 members representing a variety of stakeholders throughout the digging and utility industry. The committee will hear complaints and make recommendations to the UTC for enforcement action. If you want to file a complaint with the Dig Law Safety Committee, visit:

Call Before You Dig Videos

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