What is a ticket?
A "ticket" is the industry-wide term that refers to the document you submit through USA North 811, which request the utility members to mark or locate their facilities at your worksite. After submitting your ticket (online or over the phone), you will receive a ticket number that is the reference number for your individual request. Your ticket number will begin with either a “W” or an “X” and will be followed by 9 numbers. Make sure to keep the ticket number assigned to your request for at least the duration of the excavation and preferably longer for your records.
I’m not digging very deep; should I submit a ticket?
Yes. You should contact 811 no matter how deep you are digging, since many cables and pipes lie at extremely shallow depths. If you’re ready to submit a ticket, please click here.
I submitted my 811 request, when can I start digging?
You can begin your excavation once the following conditions have been met:
1. The start time on your ticket has passed (this can be the given start time on the ticket or the legal start time, whichever is later).
2. All utilities listed on your ticket have responded, by either: marking your site, providing you with information on the location of their underground lines, or giving you the 'all clear' (no lines in the area).
If the start time for your ticket has passed, and one or more of the utilities has yet to respond, please DO NOT dig. Call 811 as soon as possible so we can contact the utilities in question again. You are not clear to dig until you receive a response from all utility companies on your ticket.
Click here to check the utility responses to your ticket.
Do I need to pre-mark my dig site?
Yes. Show the utility members exactly where you plan to dig by pre-marking your dig site with white paint. If you don’t have white paint available, you can also use white stakes, white flags, white whiskers, white chalk and even white baking flour. If you neglect to pre-mark your dig site, the utility members may choose not to locate their facilities. For further information regarding pre-marking or delineating your dig site, please watch our "How to Pre-mark" instructional video.
I’ve damaged an underground utility line, what do I do?
If the damaged utility line poses a threat to life, health, or public safety, evacuate the worksite (300’ or more upwind from damage) and contact 911 to dispatch emergency services. If you discover or cause any damage (breaks, leaks, nicks, dents, gouges, grooves, or other damage to subsurface installation lines, conduits, coatings, or cathodic protection) you must immediately report it to the affected utility member. You can get the emergency contact information for the damaged utility owner by contacting 811 and notify them that you have damaged a facility at your worksite. Never attempt to fix, repair, pinch, squeeze, zip tie, or bury the damaged facility.
Can I submit my 811 request online?
Yes. Submitting your ticket online can not only be quicker than calling in, but it's easy to do. If your work is taking place at a single address location, you can submit your ticket online at www.811express.com. If you are unsure on how to accurately submit the ticket, or if your address doesn't show up at 811Express, then feel free to call us by dialing 8-1-1. For any other location types, please call 811 to submit your ticket over the phone (professional contractors can use our E-Ticket program here).
How will I know if all of the utility companies on my ticket have responded to my request?
The utility companies listed on your ticket can respond in a number of different ways, including marking the location of their underground facilities at your site, contacting you via email or phone to advise you that your site is clear from any conflict with their underground facilities, or by providing you information about the location of their underground facilities such as maps or as-built plans. You can also check our Positive Response page using your ticket number and the utility companies who use the program will record a response to your ticket here. You are required by law to get a response from all utility companies on your ticket before you can begin your work.
What do the colors mean?
The utility members will use the American Public Works Association Color Code system to mark their underground facilities for you.
WHITE - Proposed Excavation
PINK - Temporary Survey Markings
PURPLE - Reclaimed Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines
RED - Electric Power Lines, Cables, Conduit and Lighting Cables
YELLOW - Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or Gaseous Materials
ORANGE - Communication, Alarm or Signal Lines, Cables or Conduit
BLUE - Potable Water
PURPLE - Reclaimed Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines
GREEN - Sewers and Drain Lines
What should I do if I'm missing a response from a utility?
If the start time on your ticket has passed (must be beyond the legal notice) and you have not received a response from one or more utility companies listed on your ticket, state law requires you to call 811 to report a “no response”.
I see spray paint markings at my property, how can I find out who is doing work?
The first thing to remember: those paint marks are life-saving marks. Please do NOT remove them unless YOU called in the ticket and your work is done.
That said, have you recently hired a contractor to do work at your property (fence project, new pool, landscaping, utility repair, etc)? If so, the markings are most likely due to the contractor submitting an 811 request for your property for that project. Markings at your site might also be due to work that is being done by one of your neighbors if that work is taking place near your shared property line. If you haven’t hired anyone to work at your property, and you have verified with your neighbor that they haven’t as well, please email our Operations Team (email@example.com) so they can look and see if there are any open tickets for your address.
How long is my 811 request good for?
Your ticket is good for 28 calendar days from the date you submitted your ticket. Your ticket will note the exact expiration date. If you are approaching the expiration date on your ticket and you have determined that work is going to continue past that expiration date, you can renew your ticket by contacting 811.