Call 811 before you start digging

Call 811 to have underground utility lines marked before digging. It’s free

For National Safe Digging Month in April – and all year round – call 811 before digging so you can protect underground utility lines and pipes.

When you call the free 811 service before you start a project any time during the year, a technician will come to your house or work site to mark underground utility lines. These videos show how the process works.

Plan your project. Call before you dig

Call 811 before you dig anywhere on your property at least three days before starting a project. Call before installing septic tanks and sewer lines, swimming pools, wells, sprinkler systems and water lines, basketball goal posts, mailbox posts, fence and deck posts, trees and shrubs.

Workers mark utility lines

A locator will mark lines on the property. The service is free. Crews use above-ground stakes, flags or paint to mark restricted areas before a customer begins a digging project.

Now that you know where the lines are, get started

Even if you’ve had lines marked for previous projects, call 811 any time you plan to dig. The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, including erosion, previous projects and uneven surfaces. Even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking a utility line exists.

Dig. Plant. Enjoy

Always dig around the markers – not on them. Dig by hand within 30 inches of the markers, depending on the requirements in your state. Excavation equipment can damage underground lines.

If you strike a line

If you make contact with an underground line, call the utility immediately so it can inspect for damage.

Duke Energy customers should report the outage by texting OUT to 57801 or reporting it on the Duke Energy mobile app or

If any contact with a natural gas line or the tracer wire alongside it is made, Piedmont Natural Gas customers should call 800.752.7504, and Duke Energy Natural Gas customers should call 800.634.4300.

Go to Piedmont Natural Gas or Duke Energy’s safety pages if you’re unsure how to recognize a natural gas leak and what to do.

More information: Call Before You Dig.