Call Miss Utility at 811 Before You Dig

 Call Miss Utility at 811 Before You Dig 


811-logo.jpgLocated underground is a complex network of pipes and wires for critical services such as electricity, natural gas, communications, water, sewage and other utilities. Unsafe digging can damage buried equipment.  If you plan to dig anywhere – from large construction jobs to home projects – smart digging means calling Miss Utility at 811 before each job.  It’s the first step in helping you to dig safely and avoid damaging critical utilities.

Avoid Serious Consequences
Striking an underground utility line while digging can cause harm to you or those around you.  It can also disrupt service to entire neighborhoods, and potentially result in fines and repair costs defined in Maryland’s strict Miss Utility law. Nationwide, one out of every three damages to underground utilities is the result of an excavator not calling 811 first.  Never assume you know what is below.
Simple Steps to Safer Digging
  • Make the call.  One free, simple phone call to Miss Utility at 811 will notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. You can also contact Miss Utility online at (professional excavators) and  (homeowners/residents/do-it-yourselfers).
  • Provide advance notice. Contact 811 at least two full business days (but not more than ten days) prior to digging to ensure enough time for utility lines to be properly marked.
  • Provide your project info. When you call 811, a representative from Miss Utility will ask for the location and description of your digging project.  You will be given a ticket number for your request.
  • Allow utilities to mark underground lines. Miss Utility will notify BGE and other affected utilities that will then send professional locators to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of any underground lines.  Use your ticket number to check on the status of your request with Miss Utility at 1-866-821-4226 or
  • Understand the location marks. Each type of buried utility has its own color code.  Marks may be painted or located with flags:
 Electric, Cables, Conduit, Lighting Cables
 Natural Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum
 Communication, Phone, Cable, Fiber Optic
 Reclaimed Water
 Proposed Excavation
 Temporary Survey Marking


  • Dig Carefully.  Once lines have been properly marked, carefully hand dig with a shovel around the marked areas.  Better yet, consider designing your project to avoid digging anywhere close to the underground facilities.  Never use mechanized equipment within 18 inches of marks or exposed underground pipes or wires.  Remember that utility marks will not indicate depth, and settling ground, erosion and other factors can cause the depth or exact location of underground pipes and wires to change over time.

For more information

Dig Smart training (including in-depth information on reading and understanding marks and proper digging procedures), videos and other free materials are available from BGE’s Damage Prevention Unit. explains how 811 works, why people are calling, and the organizations behind 811, like BGE, Miss Utility and the Common Ground Alliance.  provides information from the Maryland Gas Operators Advisory Committee on digging safely and a full range of natural gas safety topics.

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miss-utility-brochure.jpgReview Miss Utility's overview of the one call system and required steps to take before excavation.