Alabama 811 – Monthly Giveaway

Alabama 811 Monthly Giveaway

To help spread the safe digging message on social media, we give away monthly prizes. Each giveaway will begin on the 1st of the month and end on the 15th. Get notifications on future giveaways by following us on Facebook (click here), Twitter (click here), and Instagram (click here).

Please help us spread the safe digging message by sharing these giveaways on social media. Your participation is key to helping us keep Alabama safe and connected!

2022 Annual Membership Meeting

Annual Membership Meeting

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 @ 1PM

This meeting will conduct business including selection of General Members Board seat, annual financial report, and annual operations report.

Planning a planting project

Planning for a planting project

Are you ready to plant a tree?

 

Trees are a great addition to any landscape. They raise property values, decrease respiratory diseases, lower cooling bills, reduce stormwater runoff, provide wildlife food and habitat, etc.

There are several variables to consider before even breaking ground. 

Step 1
Choose the Right Tree
Plant a tree in a place where it has room to grow to maturity. Consider the distance it will be from other trees, built structures, and sidewalks. Always consider the mature size of the tree and be aware of above or below-ground utility lines.
Step 1
Step 2
Choose a Suitable Location
Planting a tree wherever you find pleasing may not be the best place. Choose a location that will allow for adequate drainage to prevent the rotting of the roots. Also consider the type of soil, the amount of sunlight the location provides, and the size of the space. Be sure to account for tree and root growth. If you plant too close to your home, it could damage the foundation.
Step 2
Step 3
Choose the Right Time to Plant
According to Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M & Auburn University) -- The best times to plant in Alabama, especially for balled and burlapped or bare-root trees, are fall and winter. Planting in fall or early winter reduces planting stress and water needs compared to planting in warmer seasons.
Step 3
Step 4
Contact 811 / Locate Utilities

The last thing you want to do when planting a tree is accidentally digging into an underground utility.

Protect yourself and underground utilities -- Contact 811 before you do any digging to have your local providers come out to locate and mark any utilities on your property.

Step 4
Step 5
Time to Dig

If there are utility lines in the area, be sure to use hand tools when within 18" of the utility marks (paint and/or flags), and dig carefully.

The hole should only be dug as deep as the root ball. This might be shallower than it appears in the container. To find the proper depth, locate the root flare (the area where the trunk tapers out to meet the lateral roots). You may need to brush off excess soil from the top of the root ball to find the root flare.

Step 5
Step 6
Place & Straighten Tree
Pick the tree up by its root mass and place it in the center of the hole. Walk around the tree to check that it looks straight from all angles. Once everything looks good, it's time to fill the hole.
Step 6
Step 7
Fill the Hole

Replace the soil you dug out of the hole a little at a time, alternating with water to help fill in any air pockets. Don’t pack the soil down. Let it settle with the water. Do not add any compost or fertilizer to the hole. Use only what you dug out. If there are large chunks of soil, it’s best to keep them intact.

Be sure to water thoroughly to soak the planting hole.

After the water soaks in a bit, add a layer of mulch around the tree three to four inches deep.

Step 7
Step 8
Follow-up Care

At first, your tree will need frequent watering to overcome the stress of planting. Check soil moisture daily and water the root ball whenever it seems dry more than a few inches deep.

After two months, the tree should be sending roots out into the native soil, so water a wider area. During dry weather, most new trees will need water at least once a week for the first two years. After that, you can begin to water only during severe droughts. Mature trees do fine with less frequent, deeper soakings.

Step 8

Additional Growing Tips & Info:

Now that your tree is in the ground, keep a close eye on it to determine if you should increase or decrease its water. If leaves are falling off, the tree may need attention. Feel the soil around the tree and water more often if it feels too dry and water less often if it’s too moist. Be sure to water slowly and thoroughly to saturate the soil in order to reach the root system.

If needed, support the tree with stakes. When your tree is mature enough, be sure to remove the stakes.

Remove broken branches, but otherwise give the tree a year or two before you do any pruning, as it needs as many leaves as possible to manufacture food.

Use tree wraps only on young trees during the winter to protect tender bark from cold damage. They can harbor insects if left on during the growing season.

First time 811 users

First Time 811 Users

As a first-time user of 811, the following is information you will need to know when excavating near buried facilities.

Notified member companies will mark their underground lines with a designated color using spray paint or flags if their facilities are in conflict with the proposed excavation site. It is always good to check the facility owner response on the al811.com website to verify if all utilities have been marked or are not in conflict. The following is a list of each color code and the utility they represent:

Once the lines have been marked, state law requires that you do not dig within 18 inches on either side of the facility markings. This is known as the safety or “tolerance” zone.

If you do have to dig within the safety or “tolerance” zone, state law requires that you use “non-invasive” methods. This is commonly considered to be hand digging or use of technology known as “vacuum excavating”. When digging within the tolerance zone it is critical to use care and caution.

18 inches PLUS the diameter of the utility

Use of color-coded surface marks (paint, chalk, flags etc) is to indicate the location and route of buried facilities. Marks may indicate the name, initials, or logo of the company that owns or operates the lines to help determine the proper facility owner if needed. If the width of the facility is greater than 2” (5mm) then marking notations may indicate the width. If the surface above the buried facilities is to be removed, such as asphalt removal, then supplemental offset marks may be used. Offset markings should be on a uniform alignment and must clearly indicate the actual facility specific distance.

 

Alabama 811 member utilities will mark their facilities FREE of charge. The locate request you just placed is a FREE service. By using 811, our member utilities will mark the lines that belong to them, which include any facilities in the right of way of a property or up to the meter at the house or building.

NOTE:

Most people are excavating in the right of way or in the area where the utility owns the lines. However, if you are working around lines past the meter, these are considered service lines and are “owned” by the property owner, not the utility. This would include water lines from the meter to the house or a gas service line from the meter to a backyard grill, etc. If you will be working in those areas and find you need these service lines located in addition to what has been marked by the utilities through the 811 service, there are locating companies who can locate them for you. There may be a fee associated with them doing this. Remember, there is no charge for the request you have placed with Alabama 811.

Responses can be viewed in real-time via the Find Locate Request link on the Alabama 811 WebPortal.

  • Visit www.https://geocall.al811.com/geocall/portal
  • Select Find Locate Request, enter your locate request ticket number in the search box and click search.
  • Your locate request ticket will be shown on the right side of the screen.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the locate request ticket to view the actions posted for each participating member utility company.
 
The WebPortal is available 24/7!

Our member underground facility owners must provide positive response, or give the “all clear,” before you can begin digging. You can check the status of your request online HERE by clicking the “Find Locate Request” option. You will need your locate request number to access the system. If a facility has not responded, we suggest that you contact Alabama 811 to have a second notice sent to members to let them know it has not been marked so that they can get it marked for your safety and protection.

If you talked directly to our office, the 811 agent should have given you the date for when the locate request should be marked and how long the request is good for.

 

The law requires a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 10 working day notice, not counting the day of notification, for excavation projects. This is to allow time for the facility owners to mark their lines. A locate request is good for 20 working days. State law requires that if you are working past the 20 working days, you need to update your request to ensure the utilities know that you are still working around their lines. Keep your reference number available, as this is proof of your notifying the utilities and complying with the state law.

If the notification period notice should expire and a particular utility has not been located, we suggest you call us back with your reference number so that we can send out a second notice to that utility requesting them to mark ASAP. This is for your protection.

Reasons homeowners don’t contact 811, and why they should

Reasons homeowners don't contact 811
& why they should

Damages to critical underground infrastructure caused due to failure to contact 811 have plagued gas, water, electric, and other utilities for years. According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the failure to call/contact 811 before excavation makes up at least one-quarter of the total reported damages. In 2020, failure to contact 811 to request a locate, was the largest individual root cause of damage, accounting for 31 percent of total reported damages, according to the CGA’s 2020 DIRT Report

5 Main reasons homeowners perform no call/contact excavations

1. They aren’t aware of 811

According to a CGA research report, half of the respondents say they are aware of a free national phone number and service that people can contact to have underground utility lines marked prior to starting a digging project. While this is the largest amount of awareness to date, it also means that half of the general public isn’t aware of the message “Know what’s below, 811 before you dig”. Current strategies and continued focus on finding new, innovative ways to promote 811 and reduce damages are clearly working. 

2. They aren’t aware of possible consequences

When it comes to hitting an underground utility, the list of potential negative consequences includes property damage, interruption of critical services, and even serious injury or fatalities.

Many people don’t consider that hitting a utility can disrupt service to a neighborhood or community. Or even the possibility of damaging a pressurized gas main, which can fuel an explosion large enough to destroy an entire neighborhood.

3. They think 811 is just for excavators

Safe digging is everyone’s responsibility — 811 is NOT just for excavators. If you are doing work that requires digging, it is your responsibility to contact 811. If you have hired a professional to do some work for you, it is their responsibility to contact 811. 

811 will then notify the participating utilities of the upcoming excavation work so they can locate and mark their underground facilities in advance to prevent possible damage to underground utility lines, injury, property damage, and service outages. 

Remember, you or your contractor could potentially hit a utility that may leave people and students working from home without service to continue to work and/or study at home.

4. They think 811 isn’t needed for small projects

With the shallow depth of a project being a top reason active diggers say they did not request to have underground utility lines marked (40% according to CGA), messaging should emphasize the potential for utility damage even from shallow digging.

Unintentionally striking a line can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods, harm to yourself or your neighbors, and repair costs. 

5. They think there will be delays

The required wait time is 2 working days (excluding notification day) for members to clear or mark the dig site. 

After waiting the allotted time and confirming the lines have been marked, safe excavation work can begin.

The best way to avoid damaging your utilities and risking injury or loss of service is to contact 811 a few days before digging to learn the approximate location of buried lines in the area of your project. Also, according to a recent Common Ground Alliance survey, 45 percent of people who plan to dig this year will not contact 811 first, despite there being 100 billion feet of utility lines buried underground in the United States. 

No matter how large or small, every digging project warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811. 

 

What’s the difference between public and private utilities?

What's the difference between
Private and Public Utilities?

Many people believe that public utilities owners are responsible for marking all the way up to the house or property. This is a common misconception that can lead to dangerous outcomes.

Understanding the difference between public and private utilities can be tricky. Here are some real-life examples. 

We’re here to help you determine what steps to take if you think there is a private utility in your dig area.

What is a Public Utility?

A public utility is owned by a company or organization that provides essential services.
 

Public utilities typically include:

 
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Gas, oil, Steam
  • Communications/TV/Internet
  • Sewer
The public utility companies are responsible for maintaining their underground facilities. Part of that responsibility includes registering the utilities with 811 and locating in the public right-of-way, and easement to include private property.

What is a Private Utility?

A private utility is owned and maintained by the property owner. Private utilities are not registered with 811. It is the excavator’s or property owners’ responsibility to have these utilities located at their own expense.

Private utilities include:

  • Sprinkler or irrigation systems
  • Electric running to a detached garage or shop
  • Lines connected to a propane tank or septic system
  • Gas lines under for grills and outdoor fire pits
  • Electric dog fence

Not so obvious examples of private utilities:

  • Water – Customer owns water line from the meter, property line, or stop box to the building.
  • Sewer – Customer owns sewer laterals from the tap at the sewer main into the structure, or from the property line into the home depending upon the region.
  • Gas – Customer owns all gas pipes after the meter.
  • Electric – Customer owns all electric wires after the meter
  • Phone and Cable – Customer owns service wire(s) from the backside of the protector or demarcation point.

Many people believe that public utilities owners are responsible for marking all the way up to the house or property. This is a common misconception that can lead to dangerous outcomes.

Tips for working around private utilities:

  • Keep in mind that private utilities are likely in your dig area.
  • Communicate with the public utilities to see where they will mark up to.
  • Budget for a private locate to be performed, this cost can vary.
  • Document the private locate marking with photos.

 


 

Private Locate Companies in Alabama

What is a Positive Response

What is a Positive Response?

Positive Response is a process to facilitate communication between utilities, excavators and Alabama 811, regarding the status of identifying and marking the underground facilities within the proposed area of excavation on locate request tickets.

How Do I View the Responses?

Responses can be viewed in real-time via the Find Locate Request link on the Alabama 811 WebPortal.

  • Visit https://geocall.al811.com/geocall/portal
  • Select Find Locate Request, enter your locate request ticket number in the search box and click search.
  • Your locate request ticket will be shown on the right side of the screen.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the locate request ticket to view the actions posted for each participating member utility company.
 
The WebPortal is available 24/7!

How Do I Submit Responses?

 

Alabama 811 members can submit responses through Alabama 811’s WebPortal
KorWeb ticket management software, or a compatible in-house ticket management system. 

If you would like to submit responses for your company you will need to fill out a registration form. Please contact Jennifer Pickle for more info: jpickle@al811.com or 205.731.3210

What Type of Responses Can Be Submitted?

The following are the different response actions to select from when responding:

NAME
DESCRIPTION
No Response from member facility
System generated code for no response
Located: Facilities Marked
Facilities Marked
Located: To Meter Only
Private Property beyond the meter
Located: In Conflict
Facility owner should be on-site during excavation
Unmarked: Unable to Access Locate Request Area
Unable to access area noted for locate request
Unmarked: Incorret Address or Excavation Site Info
Info incorrect – Contact AL811 for new locate request
Unmarked: Marking Information Unclear – Locator to Contact Excavator
Info unclear – excavator to be contacted directly
Unmarked: Unable to Contact Excavator
Needed additional info – unable to reach excavator
Unmarked: Delayed due to Weather of Other Circumstances
Delayed – need to contact locator or facility owner/operator directly
Unmarked: Cannot Locate – contact facility owner/operator directly
Unable to locate – need to contact facility owner/operator directly
Unmarked: Facility Owner/Operator or Master Contractor Generated Request
Facility owner/operator or master contractor responsible for marking
Design/Survey Locate: Marked
Physical markings completed at excavation site
Design/Survey Locate: Cleared No Conflict
No facilities in the area requested for design/survey site
Design/Survey Locate: Facility Owner/Operator to Provide Maps
Facility owner/operator will provide maps or access to maps
Design/Survey Locate: Meeting Requested
Facility owner/operator will contact to set up meeting arrangements
Other: Parties Have Agreed and Documented Locating Schedule
Parties have met and made locating schedule arrangements

FREE - Alabama 811 Mobile App

Get fast and easy access to many resources for facility operators, excavators, and homeowners directly from your mobile device!

After Contacting 811 – homeowners

AFTER CONTACTING 811

HOMEOWNERS

Thank you for contacting 811.

Here is what you can expect after your ticket is processed, along with other things that go beyond contacting 811.

1.

PROPERTY ACCESS

You do not have to be home, but please be sure all pets are put away, and ensure the locators have access to the property to mark the area where digging will take place.

2.

WHEN CAN I DIG?

Once you have confirmed all the utilities at your dig site have been marked, and the 2-10 full working/business days have passed.

3.

UTILITY RESPONSES

How do I know what utilities have responded?

Each utility member has a different way of communicating in regards to utilities on the property. This is referred to as a Positive Response.

What is a positive response?

Positive response is how member utility companies communicate with excavators about the status of the ticket. It lets the excavator know if an underground utility is marked, unmarked, or not in conflict.

An online positive response will be provided by the utility HERE by clicking the “Find Locate Request” option. It allows the excavator to know whether all facility owners/operators have marked the requested area prior to the beginning of the excavation

How do I know what utilities have responded?

Each utility member has a different way of communicating in regards to utilities on the property. This is referred to as a Positive Response.

What is a positive response?

Positive response is how member utility companies communicate with excavators about the status of the ticket. It lets the excavator know if an underground utility is marked, unmarked, or not in conflict.

An online positive response will be provided by the utility (HEREclick “find locate request”). It allows the excavator to know whether all facility owners/operators have marked the requested area prior to the beginning of the excavation

If your locate request status is closed or states there is no response from member facility owner/operator, we suggest you initiate a second call back to Alabama 811 to allow for the request to be resent to the member facility owners. Alabama 811 can be reached toll free by dialing 800.292.8525, or by dialing 811 from anywhere within the State of Alabama.

4.

UTILITY MARKINGS

What do the different colored markings on the ground mean?

4.

UTILITY MARKINGS

What do the different colored markings on the ground mean?

5.

PRIVATE UTILITIES

What are private utilities?

Private utilities are lines not owned by utility companies, typically found between the meter and the building. If you have a curbside meter, this can result in the property not being marked by utility companies. Other underground utilities that generally are not marked include, but are not limited to: water and sewer lines, private lighting, sprinklers, fire mains, secondary electric lines to detached garages, pools, and septic lines.

Who marks private utilities and is there a cost?

There are fees for private utility markings. A quick search online should result in a number of private locating companies in your area and most plumbing companies offer private locating upon request. The underground utilities are owned by the property owner, and it’s the owner’s responsibility to cover the cost associated with protecting private underground utilities.

6.

UTILITY COMPANIES HAVE NOT RESPONDED.

If there is no Positive Response, simply dial 811 or 1.800.292.8525, to process a locate ticket to notify utility companies to locate their lines ASAP. Some lines may not be marked because they are private.

7.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO DIG SAFELY.

Why should I dig with hand tools around a marked facility?

It is the responsibility of the person digging to avoid damaging marked lines. APWA and several industries accepted best practices set 18″ on either side of the marked utility as a reasonable Tolerance Zone. Within that zone it is recommended that hand digging or other acceptable method be used to locate the exact location of the utility before more extensive excavation is started.

What is a Tolerance Zone/Margin?

 A Tolerance Zone/Margin is the amount of space adjacent to a utility line.

In Alabama, the Tolerance Zone/Margin is half the width of the utility line, plus a minimum of 18 inches, on each side of the outer edge of the line.

If digging must take place within the Tolerance Zone, you must use hand tools, until you can see the line, before using ANY power or mechanical equipment

Why should I dig with hand tools around a marked facility?

It is the responsibility of the person digging to avoid damaging marked lines. APWA and several industries accepted best practices set 18″ on either side of the marked utility as a reasonable Tolerance Zone. Within that zone it is recommended that hand digging or other acceptable method be used to locate the exact location of the utility before more extensive excavation is started.

What is a Tolerance Zone/Margin?

 A Tolerance Zone/Margin is the amount of space adjacent to a utility line.

In Alabama, the Tolerance Zone/Margin is half the width of the utility line, plus a minimum of 18 inches, on each side of the outer edge of the line.

If digging must take place within the Tolerance Zone, you must use hand tools, until you can see the line, before using ANY power or mechanical equipment

8.

IMPORTANCE OF YOUR TICKET NUMBER

Your ticket number is helpful to have if you need your worksite remarked or if you need to make any changes, and it also serves as proof that you contacted 811 before digging.

9.

MY MARKINGS ARE NO LONGER VISIBLE

You can request to have the markings refreshed by phone, by dialing 811 or 1.800.292.8525 (you will need your ticket number). Ultimately, you are responsible for knowing the condition of the worksite and when the marks have been wiped out, or moved, and need to be refreshed.

10.

REPORT DAMAGES

What do I do if I damaged/exposed a line?

Stop digging and contact 811 to process a damage ticket.

If you suspect the release of any gas or liquid as a result of the damage, follow the steps found in the link in step 11 – “What to do if there’s a gas or other hazardous materials leak?”

Report damages to Alabama 811 when a line has been hit, cut, nicked, or exposed.

As soon as any damage is discovered, including gouges, dents, or breaks to coating, cable sheath, and wiring, report the type and location of the damage to the utility and permit the utility a reasonable amount of time to make necessary repairs.

The following will need to be provided when processing a damage.

Ticket number (if you have one)

Type of line damaged/a description of the line by using physical descriptors that could help utility members determine who the line belongs to.

If you or the hired crew is on site.

If customers are with or without service.

If gas is leaking, blowing, or if water, sewage, phone or cable is visable.

An address or directions to area where line was damaged.

11.

WHAT TO DO IF THERE’S A GAS or OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIALS LEAK

What do I do if there’s a product release?

 
  • Stop working, block off the area, and move a safe distance away.
  • Eliminate and control any and all ignition sources (ex. cell phones, cigarettes, engines…)
  • Move upwind of the leak.

Once you are at a safe distance from the suspected leak, report the leak to 911 and the utility company.

Contact 911, the facility owner directly, and notify 811 to report the damage and release.

Remain a safe distance from the suspected leak until someone from the gas company or an emergency responder says it is safe to return.

Warn others to stay away from the area.

What do I do  there’s a gas leak?

Stop working and immediately leave the area of the leak.

Do not turn electrical appliances or lights on or off or use any device that could generate a spark.

Do not use your cell phone or a landline. If you are currently on a landline, do not hang up.

Do not smoke, make a spark, or flame.

Do not start your car engine or any mechanized equipment.

Move upwind of the leak.

Once you are at a safe distance from the suspected leak, report the leak to 911 and the utility company.

Contact 911, the facility owner directly, and notify 811 to report the damage and release.

Remain a safe distance from the suspected leak until someone from the gas company or an emergency responder says it is safe to return.

Warn others to stay away from the area.

12.

FAQ’s

Responses can be viewed in real-time via the Find Locate Request link on the Alabama 811 WebPortal.

  • Visit www.https://geocall.al811.com/geocall/portal
  • Select Find Locate Request, enter your locate request ticket number in the search box and click search.
  • Your locate request ticket will be shown on the right side of the screen.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the locate request ticket to view the actions posted for each participating member utility company.
 
The WebPortal is available 24/7!

Our member underground facility owners must provide positive response, or give the “all clear,” before you can begin digging. You can check the status of your request online HERE by clicking the “Find Locate Request” option. You will need your locate request number to access the system. If a facility has not responded, we suggest that you contact Alabama 811 to have a second notice sent to members to let them know it has not been marked so that they can get it marked for your safety and protection.

Alabama 811 members can submit responses through Alabama 811’s WebPortal, utilize our free version of KorWeb ticket management software, or with a compatible in-house ticket management system. 

If you would like to submit responses for your company you will need to fill out a registration form HERE

Positive Response option for HIGH VOLUME tickets – For members that receive a high volume of locate requests, use a ticket management system or use your own response system, you will want to register for the automated upload to the positive response servers. Please indicate your interest on the registration form. Alabama 811 will provide documentation outlining the setup needed to enter responses into the positive response system.

Positive Response for the Alabama 811 WebPortal and Mobile App – The Alabama 811 WebPortal and the Alabama 811 Mobile App are resources available to members to document and record their responses to the locate request notifications received. The excavators will have the ability to look up the ticket and view the responses from members on the locate requests. The responses submitted will inform the excavators if utilities have been marked, are clear of the excavation

For more information, contact Jennifer Pickle:  jpickle@al811.com or 205.731.3210

NAME
DESCRIPTION
No Response from member facility
System generated code for no response
Located: Facilities Marked
Facilities Marked
Located: To Meter Only
Private Property beyond the meter
Located: In Conflict
Facility owner should be on-site during excavation
Unmarked: Unable to Access Locate Request Area
Unable to access area noted for locate request
Unmarked: Incorret Address or Excavation Site Info
Info incorrect – Contact AL811 for new locate request
Unmarked: Marking Information Unclear – Locator to Contact Excavator
Info unclear – excavator to be contacted directly
Unmarked: Unable to Contact Excavator
Needed additional info – unable to reach excavator
Unmarked: Delayed due to Weather of Other Circumstances
Delayed – need to contact locator or facility owner/operator directly
Unmarked: Cannot Locate – contact facility owner/operator directly
Unable to locate – need to contact facility owner/operator directly
Unmarked: Facility Owner/Operator or Master Contractor Generated Request
Facility owner/operator or master contractor responsible for marking
Design/Survey Locate: Marked
Physical markings completed at excavation site
Design/Survey Locate: Cleared No Conflict
No facilities in the area requested for design/survey site
Design/Survey Locate: Facility Owner/Operator to Provide Maps
Facility owner/operator will provide maps or access to maps
Design/Survey Locate: Meeting Requested
Facility owner/operator will contact to set up meeting arrangements
Other: Parties Have Agreed and Documented Locating Schedule
Parties have met and made locating schedule arrangements

After Contacting 811 – excavators

AFTER CONTACTING 811

EXCAVATORS

Thank you for contacting 811.

Here is what you can expect after your ticket is processed, along with other things that go beyond contacting 811.

1.

PROPERTY ACCESS

Being on-site

It is not a requirement for you to be on-site, however, please be sure to follow steps 2-4 if applicable.

Pets

Remove and/or safely contain dogs and other pets. Even if a pet looks friendly, locators may not enter the yard.

Gate codes

If you are working in a gated community, provide the gate code.

Locked gates

Make sure gates are unlocked

2.

UTILITY MARKINGS

What utilities are marked by 811?

The 811 One-Call system notifies participating utility members, but does not actually mark the lines. Member utilities may only mark public utilities and may not mark private or non-member utilities.

What utilities are considered private?

Private utilities are lines not owned by utility companies, typically found between the meter and the building. If you have a curbside meter, this can result in the property not being marked by utility companies. Other underground utilities that generally are not marked include, but are not limited to water and sewer lines, private lighting, sprinklers, fire mains, secondary electric lines to detached garages, pools, and septic lines.

Who locates private lines?

Is a request for a private locate free?

There are fees for private utility markings. The underground utilities are owned by the property owner, and it’s the owner’s responsibility to cover the cost associated with protecting private underground utilities.

3.

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH UTILITIES HAVE RESPONDED?

Each utility member has a different way of communicating in regards to utilities on the property. This is referred to as a Positive Response.

Positive response lets the excavator know if an underground utility is marked, unmarked, or not in conflict.

An online positive response will be provided by the utility HERE by clicking the “Find Locate Request” option. It allows the excavator to know whether all facility owners/operators have marked the requested area prior to the beginning of the excavation

If your locate request status is closed or states there is no response from member facility owner/operator, we suggest you initiate a second call back to Alabama 811 to allow for the request to be resent to the member facility owners. Alabama 811 can be reached toll free by dialing 800.292.8525, or by dialing 811 from anywhere within the State of Alabama.

4.

TICKET NUMBER

Once you submit a locate request, you will receive a ticket number. It is important to maintain locate request ticket number as verification that a request was made. It is also helpful to expediate look up in the Alabama 811 system if you should need to refer back to this request. 

5.

I NEED TO CHANGE SOMETHING ON MY LOCATE.

Contact 811 to make changes to your existing ticket (you’ll need your ticket number). Simply dial 811 or 1.800.292.8525.

6.

I’M STILL WORKING

If the excavation work will continue past the 20-day working period, the locate request should be updated by the 17th working day to allow for the new 2 full day working day notice (not counting the day of the notification) to allow the facility owners to refresh any marks prior to the expiration of the original request.

7.

MARKINGS ARE NO LONGER VISIBLE

You can request to have the markings refreshed by phone, by dialing 811 or 1.800.292.8525 (you will need your ticket number). Ultimately, you are responsible for knowing the condition of the worksite and when the marks have been wiped out, or moved, and need to be refreshed.

8.

REPORT DAMAGES

What do I do if I damaged/exposed a line?

Stop digging and contact 811 to process a damage ticket.

Report damages to Alabama 811 when a line has been hit, cut, nicked, or exposed.

As soon as any damage is discovered, including gouges, dents, or breaks to coating, cable sheath, and wiring, report the type and location of the damage to the utility and permit the utility a reasonable amount of time to make necessary repairs.

The following will need to be provided when processing a damage.

Ticket number (if you have one)

Type of line damaged/a description of the line by using physical descriptors that could help utility members determine who the line belongs to.

If you or the hired crew is on site.

If customers are with or without service.

If gas is leaking, blowing, or if water, sewage, phone or cable is visable.

An address or directions to area where line was damaged.

WHAT TO DO IF THERE’S A GAS or OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIALS LEAK

  • Stop working, block off the area, and move a safe distance away.
  • Eliminate and control any and all ignition sources (ex. cell phones, cigarettes, engines…)
  • Move upwind of the leak.

Once you are at a safe distance from the suspected leak, report the leak to 911 and the utility company.

Contact 911, the facility owner directly, and notify 811 to report the damage and release.

Remain a safe distance from the suspected leak until someone from the gas company or an emergency responder says it is safe to return.

Warn others to stay away from the area.

9.

I NEED A COPY OF MY TICKET

Print/email a copy of your ticket – CLICK HERE

The top 5 damage causes make up 70 percent of total damages reported

DID YOU KNOW?

The top 5 damage causes make up

70% of total damages reported

2020 CGA DIRT REPORT: KEY FINDINGS OVERVIEW

In September 2021, Common Ground Alliance (CGA) published its 2020 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report, which analyzed all 2020 damage and near-miss data submitted voluntarily by facility operators, utility locating companies, one call centers, contractors, regulators, and others from the U.S. and Canada. 

The top 5 damage root causes:

1. No notification made to one call center/811

Failure to notify the one-call center (811) is the single largest individual root cause, contributing to 32% of damages.

2. Excavator dug prior to verifying marks by test-hole (pothole)

Excavator dug prior to verifying marks by test-hole (pothole) combined with Failure to maintain clearance make up the most consistent causes of damage due to excavator error in the field.

3. Facility marked inaccurately due to abandoned facility

There may be damages related to mapping, tracer wire, and abandoned facility hidden in the “Locator Error” category according to the DIRT report.

Therefore, such errors should not always be interpreted to conclude that the technician is the responsible party. Inaccurate maps, broken tracer locate wire, abandoned facility, etc. could lead to an inaccurate locate even if the locator followed all proper procedures.

4. Facility not marked due to excavator error

There may be instances where an excavator may have contacted the notification center, but may not have provided sufficient information, or the excavator did not provide sufficient notification time according to requirements and guidelines.

Ex: Excavator was excavating outside of the located area

5. Excavator failed to maintain clearance after verifying marks

Excavator failed to maintain clearance (defined by applicable guidelines, law, and facility owners) from underground facilities when using power/ mechanical equipment.

Damages continue to occur, and the major root cause groupings are still roughly equal to one another. The data reinforces that we still have important work to do to drive down the estimated $30 billion dollars in societal costs that result from damages to critical underground infrastructure in communities across the country. Implementing more effective education and training across stakeholder groups about the importance of adhering to damage prevention practices can potentially result in a significant reduction in damages, which means companies can reduce their environmental footprint as well as negative impacts on communities.