Most people are aware that you should always call before you dig to have underground utility lines located. Not only can hitting a line when digging be expensive to repair, but some lines such as electrical and gas can also be extremely dangerous. Not only is it smart to always call before you dig, it is actually the law!
Many people, however, are not aware that 811 only locates public utilities and that they may also need to contact a private locator such as Last call Locating to have any private lines located. We have been locating lines for over 25 years and specialize in locating those private lines that 811 does not locate. This page contains answers to some commonly asked questions related to locating utility lines before you dig including some of the important differences between public lines and privately owned utility lines. If you are planning to dig, you should always call 811 first and then call Last Call Locating to have private lines located and marked as well.
- Who should I call before I dig to avoid damaging underground power or other lines?
— You should always call 811 before you dig to have public utility lines located. Additionally, if you suspect (or are at all unsure) that there may be private lines you should also call last call Locating, Inc. before you dig.
- Is calling 811 before digging enough?
— In many cases the answer is NO. The 811 'One Call' system locates public utilities ONLY. It does not cover any private lines which may exist on the property and can be just as costly and dangerous to hit as the public lines. If you are at all unsure you should always call us as well to locate private lines before you dig.
- Why are you different than calling 811?
— 811, also known as the 'One Call' system does not actually locate lines. They are simply a referral service that contacts the local public utility companies who, in turn, come out and locate their lines. They are only responsible for locating and marking the portion of the lines that they own and do not locate any privately owned lines. Although you should certainly call them first, you should also call us to locate any private utility lines on the property.
- What types of lines do you locate?
— We locate many private underground lines including electrical, high voltage, gas, water, steam, communication, sprinkler valves, pipes and conduits...
- Am I required locate buried utility lines?
— Yes. M.C.A. §69-4-502 requires anyone digging to have utility lines located before excavating. If you fail to have lines located and damage any lines you are liable to the owner for the entire cost of repair and may be liable for additional damages as well! Play it safe, always call before you dig.
- What do the different colored marks mean?
— The different colored markings you see after a locate are recommended by the American Public Works Association (APWA) and are used to identify the type of utility line beneath the marks. Here is a list of the colors you may see and what they indicate:
- White : Proposed excavation
- Pink : Temporary Survey Markings
- Yellow : Gas, Oil, Steam or Petroleum
- Orange : Communication, Alarm or Signal Lines, Cables or Conduit
- Blue : Potable water
- Purple : Reclaimed Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines
- Green : Sewers and Drain Lines
- Does Last Call Locating provide any services other than pre-excavation private line location in Montana and Wyoming?
— Yes. In addition to locating and marking private lines, we also locate faults in underground lines. This is a very important locating service and can potentially save thousands of dollars in repair costs when you have an underground fault - especially if the line run is of any substantial length.