Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions about safe digging.

If you have a question or concern that’s not addressed below, contact 811.

What is the law pertaining to excavators and contractors?

By law, excavators and contractors working in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island must contact New York 811 by phone, by dialing 811, or via ITIC at least two working days before beginning any mechanized digging or excavation work.

After I submit my request, how long do I have to wait to excavate?

Once we receive your excavation request, our member utilities have two working days to mark their lines. By law, you may not perform any excavation work during this time.

Can I submit my excavation request online?

Yes! Excavators and contractors can access our easy-to-use, Web-based ITIC system. You will be required to provide the same type and amount of information online as you would over the phone. Prior training is required to use the system. Contact New York 811, by dialing 811, for details.

What is positive response?

All facility owners are responsible for providing a positive response to excavators indicating that their lines have been marked OR that there are no underground lines within 15 feet of the proposed work site.

What if I' am digging on private property?

Whether digging on residential or commercial property, you are required by law to contact New York 811. The excavator and contractor—not the homeowner—must submit the request.

What is the tolerance zone?

A buffer that extends one half of the utility line’s known diameter plus two feet on either side of the center line. If the diameter of the underground facility is not known, the tolerance zone is two feet on either side of the designated center line. Hand tools are required when working in the tolerance zone until the exact facility location is verified. Click here for a helpful diagram.

What if the staking, marking or other designations aren't completed by the project start date?

If an operator informs you that lines will not be marked by the project start date, you may not begin digging. In such case, the operator must mark the lines no later than two working days after the excavator’s stated commencement date, unless both parties agree to a longer period.

Do I need to bring a record of my request (e.g. ticket number) to my job site?

While you are not required to have proof of notification compliance at your job site, we recommend you do so in case you hit a line or discover unmarked lines. If you need to call New York 811 from the excavation site, your ticket number allows us to reference your location quickly. Also, in the event that a utility owner or law officer visits your job site, this information provides proof your compliance with state law.

What if my excavation work is delayed after lines are marked?

Excavation must begin within 10 working days of the date we receive your request. To avoid unnecessary delays, contact New York 811 before the 10-day period is scheduled to expire to request a remarking. Have your ticket number handy when you call.

More than two working days have passed since I submitted my excavation request and my lines are still not marked. What should I do?

All facility owners are responsible for providing a positive response to excavators indicating that their lines have been marked OR that there are no underground lines within 15 feet of the proposed work site. If lines have not been marked and operators have not contacted you to request additional time, Call New York 811 at by dialing 811.

What if I accidentally hit a line?

Contact the utility company (if known) and New York 811 immediately, even if there appears to be no damage. If a substance starts releasing into the air, such as natural gas, walk away right away and take steps to protect your work crew. Don’t try to stop or repair the leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark, such as a cell phone. When clear of the area, call 9-1-1.

Some of the marks at my excavation site have faded and several flags are missing. Can I get the lines re-marked?

Yes. Simply contact New York 811, by dialing 811, and request that your lines be remarked. Once you call, you must cease all excavation work until the utility companies remark their lines.

Am I required to pre-mark my excavation site?

When necessary to clearly identify the excavation site, or when mutually agreed upon by the excavator and operator, the excavator should outline the site with white paint, stakes or similar-type markings.

Do you offer damage prevention seminars for excavators and contractors?

Yes! New York 811 features staff liaisons charged with promoting safe digging throughout our region.  Click here to learn more. Excavators and contractors are also invited to join our Damage Prevention Committee and/or Damage Prevention Subcommittee.

Can my company become a member of New York 811?

Yes. New York 811 offers a membership option for non-facility owners who have an interest in damage prevention and public safety. For more information on becoming a sustaining member of New York 811, click here.