If you’re planning to dig on your property, submitting a ticket online with 811NOW or calling 811 can help you avoid hitting underground utility lines, keeping you and your neighborhood safe. Below are five steps to follow when working with Kentucky 811 to notify the member utility operators in your area of your intent to dig. If you have any questions or concerns during the process, don’t hesitate to call Kentucky 811 at 811. We are open 24/7 to take your call or receive your online request.

1. Plan Your Project

Before you contact Kentucky 811, you will need to know specific details about where you plan to dig, including the county, street address, nearest intersecting street and location on the property. You will also need the name and phone number of the person who will be doing the digging. We recommend you mark the designated area with white paint or flags, so the member utility operators know where you plan to excavate.

2. Contact Kentucky 811

You can request underground facility markings at a single address online via 811NOW or by phone at 811. After contacting Kentucky 811, you will be given a ticket number and a list of all the member utilities that will be notified. You will need to contact any non-member utilities yourself.

3. Wait for the Marks

You must contact 811 at least two full business days prior to excavation to give the member utilities enough time to mark the approximate location of their underground utilities on your property. “Business day” means every day except Saturday, Sunday, and state and national legal holidays. Each line will be marked in the color that corresponds to the appropriate utility and can be referenced on our APWA color code guide.

4. Confirm the Marks

Once the two full business days have passed, confirm that all utility operators have visited the property by comparing the various colors of the marks to the list of utilities provided by Kentucky 811. If the utility operator’s facilities are not in conflict within the designated area, a notification shall be made to the person who submitted the locate request that the utility operator has no facilities in the proposed excavation area. The method of notification is up to the utility operator or contractor locator. For example, if gas is not in conflict, then the utility operator may write “OK” with yellow paint in the designated area.

5. Dig with Care

Now that the utility lines are marked, or you’ve been notified that they aren’t in conflict, you can begin digging with care. Kentucky state law mandates a tolerance zone of 18 inches on either side of the marks. In the tolerance zone, only certain types of excavation are allowed, such as only being permitted to dig with hand tools. The size of the tolerance zone will depend on the size of the underground facility, which is sometimes noted by the utility locating technicians.

For example, if a water line is marked as six inches wide, the tolerance zone on either side of the line is two feet three inches from the mark. You will only want to use mechanical equipment outside of the zone after you have exposed the line(s) by safely digging with hand tools. Learn more by reading the Kentucky Dig Law.