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Call Before You Dig

default_c.jpgAugust 11 is National 8-1-1 Day! It's the time of year when the American Petroleum Institute encourages homeowners and professional excavators to call 811 and follow the safe digging process to help prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages.

Beneath America's cities and rural areas lies a complex network of pipelines, wires, conduits and cables. Some are buried only a few feet - or less - below the surface. Hitting these lines can damage them, disrupting service, resulting in costly repairs and possibly fines and even endangering lives. A federally-mandated national "Call Before You Dig" number, 811 was created to help protect you from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects.

As part of API’s commitment to safe digging, National 8-1-1 Day and Call Before You Dig, API has provided free versions of damage prevention best practices for download. These consensus-based recommended practices have been developed through a process accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and help to promote safe digging practices among homeowners, third parties and excavators.

API RP 1166 – Excavation Monitoring and Observation:

To protect the public, excavation employees and the environment, preventing damage to pipeline assets from excavation activities is imperative. This standard provides a consistently applied decision-making process for monitoring and observing excavation and other activities on or near pipeline rights-of-way. Topics covered under this standard include things to consider when evaluating the type of work and proximity of work to the pipeline, and various items to pay attention to when near a pipeline.

API RP 1109 - Line Markers and Signage for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines and Facilities

Similar to the informative flags placed in residential yards or on worksites after calling 8-1-1, the industry has strict standards for the permanent marking of liquid petroleum pipeline transportation facilities. This standard covers the design, message, installation, placement, inspection and maintenance of markers and signs on pipeline facilities located onshore and at inland waterway crossings. Markers and signs indicate the presence of a pipeline facility and warn of the potential hazards associated with its operation. The markers and signs contain information to be used by the public when reporting emergencies, such as the name of the pipeline operator and an emergency number, and seeking assistance in determining the precise location of a buried pipeline.

API supports National 8-1-1 Day and April as National Safe Digging Month and encourages homeowners and professional excavators to take the following steps before any digging project:

  • Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
  • Plan ahead. Notify your local one call center by calling 811 or making an online request 2-3 days before work begins. Be sure to check our state map to find out how far in advance you need to call.
  • Confirm with your local one call center that all lines have been marked.
  • Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.

Whether you are a homeowner or a professional excavator, one call to 811 gets your underground utility lines marked for FREE. Don't assume you know what's below. Protect yourself and those around you. Call 811 every time.

See for more information.

Excavation Damage Prevention Toolbox

The Excavation Damage Prevention Toolbox website at is a free source of shared learnings, practices and other documents from contributing operators on preventing excavation damage. Excavation Job Planning is the latest toolbox topic to be added to the website, with many other topics such as Excavation Monitoring and Observation, ROW Patrol and Response, ROW Usage by Landowner, One-Call Notification Screening, Operator One-Call Ticket Management Systems, all available for downloading.


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