Call Before You Dig!

Ready for some off-season digging in the yard? Today’s post is our post championing the necessity to call before you dig. Your local utility notification service that is. Digging in your yard presents a wealth of opportunity for dangerous situations if you aren’t sure where utilities are located underground. Publicly owned utilities can be anywhere, under grass, sidewalks, or the road. Not only is digging without calling dangerous: it is also illegal. Not using the local call locate service to find buried utilities could cost you thousands in penalties if the law is not properly followed. In Oregon, one company was originally fined $245,000! After paying $33,000 – they were held to strict adherence for the next three years. Another violation would trigger the remainder of the penalty to be due. Whoa! Whether for the sake of your life or your pocketbook, the best choice is to call before you dig.

By law, what projects require you to call before you dig? In Oregon, any project that will require digging deeper than 12 inches requires a call locate. Yep, even real estate signs. Gas, Electric, Water, Telephone and CATV lines may all be lurking right where you want to place that for sale sign.

Why it is Dangerous Not to Call Before You Dig

I am not sure you need more proof than this. Don’t let this be you. Simply call before you dig.

Or this.

While not all issues with hitting utility lines are this dramatic, it is still worth it to not look like a dummy – like this guy who was recorded by his neighbor. Check out the comments for this:

call before you dig in Oregon or Washington

The Three Biggest Things Homeowners Want to Know

When do you have to call before you dig?

The following is taken from the OUNC (Oregon Utility Notification Center) website.

The definition of excavation is very clear: any operation in which earth, rock or other material is moved or displaced by any means; such as planting a tree, putting in fence posts, installing mailboxes, planting shrubs, building a deck, etc.

To be exempt from calling for locates a homeowner must meet the following four specific requirements:

  1. The Excavator is a tenant or an owner of private property,
  2. The excavation is on private property of that owner or tenant,
  3. The excavation is less than 12 inches deep and
  4. The excavation is not within an established easement.

Other than the exemptions discussed above, any person performing excavation activities must call for locates, regardless of depth.

Who do I call?

In Oregon

Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) – 1-800-332-2344

In Washington

NUNC: Northwest Utility Notification Center – 1-800-424-5555

What happens when I call the toll free number?

Also taken straight from the OUNC website.

As soon as you make that important phone call, the operator answering the phone at the OUNC’s One Call Center, will ask you a series of questions designed to pin point the proposed excavation area. You will be given a reference number and the names of the Operators that have buried facilities in the excavation area. The One Call Center will then notify the affected facility Operators that have underground facilities within the proposed excavation site. The facility Operator (or their locating contractor) will locate and accurately mark their buried facilities with the required color.

All Oregon Landscape is a Full Service Landscape Design Company

Sound like a lot of hassle? All Oregon Landscaping is a group of experts when it come s to safety with utility lines. The rules and regulations are all strictly followed. We handle all of the call locate issues for you when we design and create your brand new landscape. Oregon or Washington, no problem as we handle landscapes in Portland and all the surrounding areas.

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