Let’s say you’re a homeowner, and you come back to the house one day after work and find a line of little colored flags or marker paint marching through your yard.  What happened while you were away?

  1. Utility work is going to be done and someone called 811 to get underground lines located
  2. Captain Jack Sparrow and his scurvy pirate crew know where to dig for treasure
  3. Some kids pulled flags out of the ground elsewhere and are pranking you

Unless you live on a Caribbean beach it’s not Captain Jack Sparrow, and we’ll CERTAINLY hope it’s not kids pulling flags out of the ground elsewhere.

So, the correct answer is A – utility locators have been at work near your home.  But, you say, I didn’t call 811.   No, you didn’t.  An excavator preparing to do work on underground utilities near your home made the free call to 811 to take advantage of the free utility locating service.   The marker flags you see will generally be within an easement or right-of-way adjoining your property.

Locators are usually only concerned with finding utility-owned transmission lines and pipes; these will run to the gas meter, water meter, etc. that supplies your house.  The line that leaves the other side of the meter and goes into or under your house is YOUR line.   In most cases, your gas or other meter may be right next to your house; so, the utility line running beneath your yard all the way to the meter on your house belongs to the utility.  On the other hand, maybe your gas meter is inside of a detached garage, in which case you may have a lengthy run of gas supply line going to your house that belongs to you.  Regardless of when or where the line leaves the meter to service your house, at that moment it is your line and responsibility. So, our hypothetical flags are NOT marking any of your “personal” lines.  This is going to be utility-side work.

We’ll talk about locating your own underground utility lines next time.

In the meantime – millions of Americans saw the national call before you dig number compete in the ‘fastest two minutes in sports’ as the “Call 811” message was emblazoned on jockeys Victor Espinoza, Drayden Van Dyke and Jose Lezcano.

We’re proud of the Common Ground Alliance sponsors whose support of the Kentucky Derby put 811 in front of an estimated viewing audience of at least 15 million people and millions more in pre- and post-race media coverage.

Until next week, safe digging!

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