Call 811 - Know What's Below

If you are planning to dig, call 811 first to have underground utility lines located and marked so you can avoid hefty fines, high repair costs, utility service outages and injuries.

Tractor at Work

Three other legal requirements:

  1. Wait two full business days for underground utilities to be located and marked - usually with paint and flags. A mark shows the approximate location of a utility and mark’s color tells you the utility type. red is for electric, orange is for communications, yellow is for gas, blue is for water, green for sewer and purple is for reclaimed water.
  2. Protect the marks during your project. If the marks are no longer visible, stop digging and call 811 again.
  3. Dig carefully within 24 inches of the mark.

Don't Assume

Homeowners sometimes make risky assumptions and choose not to call 811 before digging. “The fact is,” emphasizes Cheryl Ritter, Sunshine State One Call of Florida (SSOCOF) Damage Prevention Manager, “every digging job - even planting a tree, replacing a mailbox or installing a fence - requires a call to 811.”

If you are new to the system, here are a few tips to make the process go smoothly. Be prepared before calling 811:

  • Know where you will be digging
  • Be able to provide driving directions to the site
  • Note anything that might prevent access to the property such as a locked gate or dangerous dog in the yard
  • If you are planning on digging in only a small portion of your property, outline the area with white paint.

Ticket Number

At the end of your call to 811, you receive a locate ticket number, valid for 30 calendar days. Projects lasting longer require another call to 811 two full business days before the ticket expires.


SSOCOF is a private, not-for-profit, corporation created by Florida Legislature in 1993. Its purpose is to educate excavators and homeowners on the requirements to “Call 811 Before You Dig and provide a free system for the excavating public to notify utility owners of excavation activities. The statute mandating this practice is the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, Chapter 556, Florida Statutes.

For additional information, visit the Sunshine State One Call of Florida website.