Here’s a basic, step-by-step explanation of how New York 811 operates and helps keep families, communities and work crews safe:

  1. A homeowner, excavator or contractor contacts us (by dialing 811, the national call before you dig number) at least 48 hours but no more than 10 days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) beforehand with his or her digging request. Excavators only may submit their request online, through our ITIC service.
  2. After asking some questions about the area in which you plan to dig, including the address, nearest cross streets and extent of work to be done, we then notify our members who own and operate utilities and/or underground facilities in that area.
  3. Representatives from these member companies have 48 hours (excluding weekends and legal holidays) to come to the location to mark their underground lines or facilities.
  4. Please preserve and protect the markings and dig with care, making sure to respect the 24-inch “tolerance” zone surrounding each marked line. For a tolerance zone diagram click here. (If you must dig within this zone, use hand tools and exercise extreme caution.)

Keep in mind that New York 811 does NOT:

Guess or approximate the location of digging or excavation work.
Please be precise when providing information about your dig site. This will ensure a smooth, safe and efficient locate process for everyone involved.

Physically mark lines.
New York 811 relays digging and excavation requests to our member network of utility companies and underground facility owners. Representatives from these member companies—NOT New York 811 personnel—are responsible for visiting the work site to mark their lines.

Resolve disputes.
Occasionally a dispute may arise between an excavator and a utility or underground facility owner. Since we do not physically mark the lines, we cannot resolve disputes between excavators and our member network. We can, however, provide excavators and contractors with contact information for the facility owner (or the locating company the owner has hired to mark the lines).

For answers to specific questions, please visit our Excavator or Homeowner FAQ pages.