Today, more and more of the utility companies that supply your home with power, heat, water, telephone, sewer, gas and cable television services are delivering those services underground. It's also possible that these facilities are not buried deeply and are easier to hit than you think... and the result can be costly both financially and in loss of life.
If you're beginning a home improvement project that requires digging or adjusting the grade of your property, Sunshine State One Call (SSOCOF) recommends that you call (800) 432-4770 before digging if you don't know where underground facilities are located on your property. Note: Homeowners are exempt from calling SSOCOF unless they are excavating in the utility easements or where underground facilities are located.
Typical home improvement projects that can lead to serious damage include putting up a fence, mailbox post, swing set or clothesline pole; building a deck or room addition; and planting a garden, trees or shrubbery.
Call Before You Dig
During your call, you will be asked a series of questions designed to help pinpoint the exact location where you will be digging. After all information is complete, you will be given a ticket number and a verbal list of those members (underground facility owners) who were notified by SSOCOF. This does not mean each member has underground facilities on your property!
Wait The Required Time
Once the member companies are notified, they are responsible for locating and marking the underground facilities on your property with paint, flags, stakes or other marking material within 48 hours.
Confirm Utility Response
Before digging, be sure that all utilities in the area have marked their facilities or given you notification that their facilities do not exist where you will be working. If your dig site has been marked, you can easily identify the type of utility by its color code.
Respect The Marks
Once the stakes, flags or paint marks are placed, it is important that no one removes them until the job is complete. Explain to young children that the brightly colored flags are not toys and should not be removed from the ground. Those flags tell you where it is not safe to dig. Note: Removing flags is a misdemeanor offense.
Be especially careful when digging within two feet of the marks. Within this area, all excavation is to be done using hand tools until the underground facility is exposed.