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City of The Dalles, OR

CONTACT 811 before you dig


Common Sense Digging
Putting in a new fence? Installing an underground sprinkler system? Contact the 811 Utility Notification Center before digging more than 12 inches deep on your property. This important first step keeps you, your family, and your neighbors safe from unintentionally hitting an underground utility. 

Utility locators use maps of underground utilities in the right-of-way and public utility easements. You may want to hire a private locator to mark utilities on private property such as in-ground landscape sprinklers, drainage pipes, private service lines or outbuildings with utilities.

Damaging underground utilities when you are digging can cause injuries, environmental damage and interrupt utility services. Utilities provide underground locating as a free public service. But you don’t have to call each utility. The 811 Utility Notification Center will contact all utilities in your project area.

Follow these simple steps to dig safely:

CONTACT 811 before you dig
There are three ways to contact the 811 Utility Notification Center:download-the-free-811-app-combo

  1. Call 811.
  2. Visit the website.
  3. Download the free Oregon 811 mobile app.

Your request to have utilities located in your project area generates a notification ticket. When notified, utilities in your area will dispatch a locator to mark underground pipes and conduits. Providing accurate information about your dig site is very important. Clearly mark your project area by circling the dig area with white spray paint on the ground.

ALLOW time for utility response.
Once your request is made, utility locators have two business days (48-hours) to respond. Wait until the response time has elapsed before you start digging. Keep in mind that holidays and weekends affect the utility response time. If you make a request  after 5:00 p.m., the 48-hour response time will begin on the next business day. Use the QR code to learn more about what happens after you make a request using Oregon 811.


RESPECT and protect the marks.
Once your site is marked and the utility response time is over, take a moment to confirm that all utilities listed on your ticket have responded. Remember it is your responsibility to protect the locate marks while working on the project. Take a picture of the site before starting work. Consider using flags to  mark utility locations if your project is going to take days or weeks to complete. The locator marks need to be your guide for the duration of the project, and they should no longer be used after 45 days.

EXCAVATE carefully.
Use the locator marks as a guide, but remember they are not 100% perfect. If you can’t avoid digging near the marks, consider adjusting or moving your project. If that is not an option, be especially careful within the 24-inch “tolerance zone”. Don’t use power equipment within 24 inches from the marks in every direction and proceed with caution. If you encounter utilities that were not marked, stop digging and contact 811.

If you hit an underground utility.
“Oops” is never a word you want to hear when digging, but it can happen. If you do hit a utility when digging, get yourself and others away from the site. If there is a potential threat to safety, contact 911 immediately. Call the utility for repair. Do not attempt to repair, cover, or bury the damage. Do not resume digging until the emergency is addressed and repairs are made.

By following these steps, you’ll reduce the risk of damaging underground utilities. Good luck with your project. Help us spread the word about this free public service to your friends, family, and neighbors to protect them as well.

If you have questions, please contact the Public Works Department at (541) 296-5401 or call the after hours number at (541) 980-7703.