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Call Before You Dig

Being prepared before you dig is essential to your safety and others working with you. Always have your underground utilities (electric, gas, etc.) located before digging to avoid making contact with them.

State power line locating services only locate underground lines owned by the utility. Member-owned underground lines (most often from the transformer to the home) are not included in this service. A member must call a private locating service.

To have utility-owned underground lines located, please call:

In Minnesota call Gopher State One Call 48 hours before you dig. It's the law. 1-800-252-1166 Gopher State One Call will arrange to locate underground facilities such as electric, gas, telephone, etc.

In Wisconsin call the Digger's Hotline at 1-800-242-8511

It's Free. Call Diggers Hotline three working days before you begin your project to have buried lines beneath your jobsite located. But if you damage a buried facility without a call to Diggers Hotline, you will be financially responsible for the damage, as well as a fine of up to $2,000.
It's Easy. Protect yourself from putting a shovel through a buried electric line or from damaging a gas pipeline by calling Diggers Hotline first.
It's THE LAW. Wisconsin Statute 182.0175 requires all excavators - including homeowners and construction contractors to contact Diggers Hotline at least three working days before starting the work.

Never rely solely on utility maps. They could be outdated and the markings may be off.

Wait for the site to be marked. Respect all markings. Dig with care.

Reading Locator Flags

Locator flags are placed within paint marks. If you find flags outside the borders of locator markings, someone may have tampered with them. Contact us right away. The following charts explain the various meanings of locator flags for your reference.

Minnesota - Gopher State One Call Flags:

Uniform Locator Flag Colors

Digging Safely

Flags and locator marks indicate the direction the utility is running. But they do not tell you how deep it is buried. The only way you can find out - is to carefully expose it yourself.

  • Create a tolerance zone to provide a margin of error in case the locator marks are slightly off.
  • A tolerance zone is the width of an underground utility plus a specified tolerance distance on both sides of that utility.
  • Do not use power-digging equipment within this zone.
  • Vacuum excavators can be used safely to expose buried utilities without harming them. Just make sure the operator is trained to use this specific equipment.
  • Hand digging is the safest way to see how deep underground utilities are buried.

Be sure to:

  • Never use pointed shovels or implements.
  • Use a blunt-nosed shovel to loosen dirt and a regular shovel to remove it.
  • Dig at an angle so the shovel is parallel to the underground utility.
  • For directional drilling, make sure the drill head is at least three feet away from any utility.
  • Always calibrate the bore head and locating device before each job.
  • Dig potholes so you can visually see the drill head.


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