If you are planning a small project on your property and need to disturb the ground, there are some important factors to consider before you get started. Whether you are landscaping, building a new fence or deck, or simply planting a garden, disturbing the ground on your property can cause damage to a buried utility. Some utilities are buried only centimeters below the surface.
The results of a contact with a buried utility can be loss of an essential service for you or your neighbours, costly repairs, and most importantly serious injury or death.
Before starting your project, have the utility lines on your property identified and marked out. This is accomplished by submitting a utility locate request to Utility Safety Partners (USP). On the USP website, utilize the ClickBeforeYouDig link, or call 1-800-242-3447 Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Place your request at least 3 business days before you want to start your project to allow Facility Locate Technicians enough time to mark out the utilities in your dig zone. Depending on the time of year, the time to complete your request may take longer.
After you have submitted your request, each utility owner will identify and mark out their utilities on your property and provide you with documentation explaining the markings. They will also let you know if they do not have any utilities in the project area.
The utility owner may contact you to schedule a time to meet you at the project location. For example, if pets are loose or the project location is behind a locked gate.
Identify any Customer owned utility lines in the area such as the private side of the water, sanitary and storm service, sprinkler systems, or any other lines connecting buildings on your property. Since the utility companies and USP do not know the location of these lines, it is important to contact a private locator to identify these extra lines in your project area. Refer to the Locate-a-Locator list to view some of the facility location service providers in your area.
NOTE: Locate markings identify the approximate location of buried utilities and do not identify the depth of the line. If you’re digging within one meter on either side of the markings, carefully expose the line with hand tools to determine its exact location and depth. If you have questions about digging close to a utility, contact the utility owner.
Find additional resources and information in the USP FAQ.