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Call South Dakota 811 to locate underground utilities before you dig. It’s the law. Homeowners and landowners planning to plant a tree, build a fence or disturb the ground in any way must make the required locate request at least two working days before the planned work, or sooner if planning to work on a weekend or legal holiday. If the work will be done by a professional, a representative of that company must make the call.

There are a couple of exceptions to the requirement to notify South Dakota 811. A notification to South Dakota 811 is not required when tilling soil and gardening to a depth of 12″ or when tilling soil for agricultural purposes to a depth of 18″. However, it is advised for safety reasons that you contact South Dakota 811 even then. The depth of buried lines can vary greatly and in some cases may be very shallow due to erosion or previous landscaping. Hitting a buried gas line or electrical line can be extremely dangerous. Because of this, no mechanical tool, such as a gas operated posthole digger or other mechanical equipment may be used within 18″ horizontally on either side of a marked line. Only careful hand digging or other non-invasive method may be used within that corridor. If you nick or damage a buried service line, contact the affected company directly, or call South Dakota 811 if you don’t know who owns that service. In the case of a ruptured gas line, immediately call 911, then the gas company, and wait for emergency personnel to arrive before entering the home or business on the property. Have everyone leave the building and DO NOT turn any light switch on or off. In the case of a damaged electrical line, leave it alone, keep everyone away from the area, and call the power company or an electrician. You may be billed for damaging any underground line, but do not attempt to repair it yourself. Doing so and covering it up is against the law and may subject you to legal penalties in addition to repair costs.

Make your locate requests by simply calling 811, when calling from within the state or 1-800-781-7474 when calling from outside South Dakota. Locate requests are accepted 24/7. The One Call service is free. Some underground lines on your property may not be owned by the utility and may not be located by them, such as lines that run from the meter to the house or lines between buildings.  These types of services can include water, electrical, communications, gas, etc..  These are considered “privately owned” facilities, in which case the utility has no record of the buried lines, and consequently they are not registered with the South Dakota 811 Center.  In these cases the utility may agree to locate them at your request for a fee, or you may have to hire an electrician or other independent locating company to mark those lines.

The South Dakota One Call system provides for communication between homeowners and landowners, and the operators of underground facilities so those buried utilities can be marked in advance of any digging. Following the One Call procedures works to reduce damages to underground infrastructure, helps to ensure your safety, and protects the integrity of utility services. Before building a garage, patio, or any other type of structure over a buried line, contact the company to see what their policy is. These policies vary by company and for safety and future maintenance reasons building over them may or may not be allowed.

Remember to call 811, so you won’t need to call 911.

Guidelines for Homeowners, Ranchers, and Farmers Brochure – 2017 will help answer frequently asked questions about when to contact the South Dakota 811 Center, how the system works, and the processes that need to be followed after making the call.

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