Call 811 Before You Dig!

Safe digging is everyone's responsibility. But when someone decides to take shortcuts, weekend projects can lead to Internet and cable outages, injuries and sometimes worse. That's why it's so important (actually, it's law) to have buried utilities in your yard located and marked before you dig.

IMPORTANT: Sunshine 811 does not locate and mark or send people to locate and mark. This is done by utility companies or their locators.  If you're new to this service, please watch the video below.

This service is free for your safety...your family's safety...your neighborhood's safety.


Step 1: Prepare information for 811

Have the information below prepared before making the request:

  • Contact information including contact name, telephone numbers and email address.

  • County and city

  • Street address where you will be digging

  • Name of nearest intersecting street

  • Date and time digging is scheduled to begin

  • Number of days you'll be digging

  • Detailed description of where on property the digging will take place

  • Type of work being done (e.g. fence install, landscaping, irrigation install, etc.)

  • Type of equipment to be used

  • Special instructions

Step 2: Call 811

When you have provided all information, you will get a ticket number. If you provide a valid email, we'll send you a copy. Review all information to make sure it's accurate and keep it for your records. 

Step 3: Wait

Step 4: Make sure all utilities have responded by checking the Positive Response System

The Positive Response System (PRS) is a way for you to track the progress of utility members and locators responding to your ticket. Sometimes no one will ever show up at your house because the utility has cleared or indicated no conflict with your project. By checking PRS, you save yourself a lot of frustration waiting for marks that are not going to appear.

It also gives you some checks and balances. If the electric utility says it has marked, but you don't see any red marks, you should call that utility. Chances are another address was located and you could still have electric lines running through your project site.

Checking PRS before the two full business days expires is recommended. Utilities also leave codes with instructions for you to complete before they can finish marking your property. 

Check PRS here and click on Search Here. Then enter your ticket and phone numbers. 

NOTE: Most cities, counties and utility companies do not locate private utilities. These include water and sewer lines from the meter to the house and lines running from the home to an outside building.

Step 5: Where can I dig?

If utility marks run through your project area, you'll need to take precautions when digging. You may even want to consider moving your project. If not, treat the marks as approximate and remember that some lines are buried less than five inches. Each buried utility also has a 24-inch tolerance zone around its outer edge. The safest thing to do is hand dig to expose the utility to avoid damaging it with mechanized equipment. 



Life saving marks


Flags like those above are placed in yards when someone is digging near or within the property. They mark the approximate location of buried utility lines. Someone digging near gas, electric, fiber and other lines relies on those flags to stay safe! DO NOT pull them up or remove and try to replace them. It violates Florida law to destroy any valid markings, s.556.107(3).

What do the colors mean?

Utilities are marked according to APWA Uniform Color Codes. The chart below shows which utility type each color represents.

Don't make these dangerous assumptions

I know where all the utilities are located. Some utilities may have been run before your development was even in the planning stage. Or, something was buried deeply long ago, but recent grading or erosion has put the line close to the surface. It's not always what you think.

I don't have (you fill in the blank) utility service, so I don't have those buried lines in my yard. Some yards have been known to have cable lines servicing an entire neighborhood, even when the property owner didn't have cable. And, gas lines have run through easements on their journey to another neighborhood, while not servicing yours.

I'm just pulling up a plant or tree. When a plant matures, it's roots grow beyond the plant's or tree's canopy, sometimes several feet. As those roots expand, they can grow into and around utility lines. Forcefully pulling the plant out could pull out services.

These are real situations and it's why 811 exists. Our service is free and it's the law to have underground utility lines, pipes and cables located before you do any digging in a utility owner's right of way, easement or permitted use area.

More questions?

Visit our Learning Center.