1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

Info On Utility Mark Outs

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rclay11541, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. rclay11541

    rclay11541 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 100

    I was asked by someone to explain Untility Mark Outs so here goes (my spelling is horrible so bear with me).

    In New Jersey and many other states a I understand it you must obtain a utility mark out prior to doing ANY diging even on your own property but especaily on a customers.

    Basicly in NJ you call 1(800)272-1000. An opperator picks up the phone and asks you:

    1. Location of the diging (full street address)
    2. Person your doing the diging for (Full name and phone number)
    3. Where on the property you will be diging (they ask you how deep and to mark the area out in white paint, i always tell them to mark the whole property out just in case.)
    4. It takes anywhere from 1 month to two weeks to get the mark out completed, the operator puts i a work order and all the public utilities must come out and mark thier lines that are in the ground. Power, Telephone, Gas, Cable TV, public sewer lines etc.

    Failure to get a Utility mark out in NJ can result in being ticketed by local PD or public works dept depending on what county your in AND if you hit a public utility line YOU are wholy reasponsible. So lets say you knock the power out to the local radio station three blocks away and they loose 100K an hour you will get sued for that 100k an hour (yea they probably do have backup generators but its just and example).

    It really does give you more confidance to when digging because your not constantly worried if your going to pull up an old power line.

    IN NJ if your going to remove dirt/move dirt you must also obtain a trip permit.
  2. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,473

    Ya does anyone actually do this if their planting a few bushes????????????????? Sounds like a lot of BS to dig a small hole
  3. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    Here in WV, we call 1-800-MISS-UTILITY to have site checks done. Yes, we even have bed areas checked along sidewalks and such because you never know what the auger will hit when drilling holes. I have seen some really messed up utilty lines run in some of the new developments here. Makes you wonder how they passed code on some of them. Better safe than sorry, that's why they offer the service. Usually, someone is at the site within 45 minutes.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    Not usually, unless you know you'll be digging in an area where you are likely to run into utilities. Experience tells you when to call in utilities and when it's not necessary.

    We always call them in when we're installing a new lawn, a new irrigation system, or rototilling. Otherwise, we just call them in when we think we'll need it.
  5. Luscious Lawns

    Luscious Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    Around here utility marking is a must. Normally the gas, electric and water utilities are normally not the problem for a few shrubs. However TV cable and telephone lines are sometimes just below the surface. These lines can run through beds and take an indirect route to the house. It is not uncommon to find phone lines simply with sod laid over them not in a trench. At these levels an edger will cut the line. I wonder how these new Sbdv. pass code inspection. Also note they do not mark non utility lines such as septic lines, sprinkler lines and low voltage lighting.

    Besides marking is free and allows you to practice CYA


    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    In North Carolina---1800-632-4949
    They will be done in about 48 hours
    They will tell you its good for two weeks. I guess that they get called if anybody drops a line before that.
    Water only goes to the box, line to the house they do not mark(???)

    It is free.
    They do paint your mulch so be prepared to flip needles or add mulch. Not to much but it still is a bummer.
  7. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 607

    It's not just disruption of service and potential cost you need to consider. What happens when you put a spade through a high voltage line or auger through a high pressure gas line. Be safe guys. Your family needs you.

    In Illinois the service is called "JULIE" 1-800-892-0123

    They will mark "member" utility locations within 24-48 hours and will tell you who they are. These may not be all the utilities, but they will usually tell you who is not included. With all the "extra" cable winding around property's for telephone, security and cable t.v./internet providers, you are well advised to call them to locate even for small jobs. Have one marked....you'll be amazed at how many times a cable zig-zags across a site in a small area.

    Missouri has a service called "DIG-RITE' 1-800-344-7483 I think is the number.

    They work about the same way nation wide, just differant numbers.

  8. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702

    1-800-DIG-SAFE in NH. Similar to what everyone else has mentioned.

    And yes, you really should use them. I will share a quick story.

    My last hardscape this year was a wall and tiered walkway up to a front entry. I had dig-safe check out the area where the trench was going for the wall. It was right along the edge of the driveway. Well, I forgot to call until the day of the job, so I figured I could start up top by the porch for the walkway where there wouldn't be any utilities, and I'd only be digging about 8" deep.

    Everything went ok, but the contractor came by a few days later and said, "Man, you just missed an electrical junction up here. It's only about 4" below grade!" Why the hell there was a junction box there, and why it was only 4" below grade is beyond me, but I lucked out for sure.

    So ends up I didn't need dig-safe for the area I thought I might, but I could have used them in the area I thought I didn't ;)
  9. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    In Indiana, it's "Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service" or IUPPS. They also go by "Holey Moley".:) 1-800-382-5544 You must call at least two full working days before you dig; the utilities will be marked within those two days.

    Here's what they need:
    Street Address
    Type of work
    Extent of work
    Name of caller (and title)
    Telephone number
    Best time to call
    Start date and time
    Contractor name and address

    They also have member utilities, they tell you who will be notified. Anyone that is not a member utility, you must call and request a locate yourself. We've had that happen, though not frequently.


  10. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Posts: 0

    In Utah their called "Blue Stakes" and the service is about the same as what everyone else has described.

    I actually worked for the gas utility company years ago and part of my responsibilities was to go out and located the underground gas lines and mark them as per the customers blue stake requests.

    You would be surprised at the types of work people would call in. One lady was planting flower bulbs and called for staking. Another time a guy was removing some annuals and called for staking, but the best one was a couple that was having a hot tub delivered, planned on placing it in the yard and wanted to avoid underground utilities.

    As far as hitting a gas line while doing work without having the area staked first would result in the contractor having to pay the repair costs. The gas company would also sent out an engineer to examine the size of the hole, amount of time it was blowing gas, and the pressure in the line and then the contractor would be billed for gas loss.

    The fees for hitting a line without having it staked add up quickly.

Share This Page