Image of 3 locate flags in the grass.

Before You Dig

What is 811?

811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number. Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 or go to the South Dakota 811 website a few business days before digging to request that the approximate location of buried utilities be marked with paint or flags so that you don’t unintentionally dig into an underground utility line.

811 protects you and your community! Hitting a buried line while digging can disrupt utility service, cost money to repair, or cause serious injury or death. Always contact your 811 center, wait the required time for utilities to respond to your request, and ensure that all utilities have responded to your request before putting a shovel in the ground.

Call 811 (800-781-7474) or click the link below to get on your way towards digging safely.

Get Started: Online Locate Request
811 Call Before You Dig logo.

How 811 works

If you plan to dig anywhere, from home projects to large construction jobs, you must contact 811 before you dig. Thousands of miles of pipeline, wires and cables for critical services such as electricity, natural gas, water, communications and other utilities are located underground. Damaging these lines could result in large utility outages, expensive repair costs, and could cause injury or even death.

Locating Underground Lines
  • Premark your dig area. Pre-mark the specific area of excavation using white paint, flags or stakes. The other option is to provide an electronic outline of the specific area of excavation when requesting the ticket through South Dakota 811.
  • 811 Before You Dig. Call 8-1-1, or visit South Dakota 811 at least three business days before you dig. South Dakota 811 will notify affected utility owners of your intent to dig. Be sure to provide access to the property, ensuring gates are unlocked and pets are secured until the locates have been completed. If there is a problem with access, a meet request may be processed to ensure accessibility.
  • Wait for locates. Utility owners have two full business days, not including the day of the request, to respond to your request for locates. Professional locators will respond within that time to mark the location of underground utilities in your dig area with flags, paint or both.
  • Dig carefully. Always dig with care. Utility lines are within 18 inches on either side of the marked utility and remember the marks to not indicate depth. Carefully hand dig with non-mechanized equipment around the marked areas and consider designing your project to avoid digging close to underground utilities.
  • Respect and protect the marks. Your locate ticket is valid for 30 days or as long as marks are visible within that 30 period. You must request a refresh of your marks if your locate ticket has expired, or if your marks have been destroyed.

It is important to remember that 811 locators do not locate privately installed facilities. If you have any private utilities, you will need to hire a private utility locator. Some examples of private utilities include: underground sprinkler system, invisible fences, private water systems, or gas piping or electrical wiring to a garage.

If You Damage an Underground Line
  • Stop work immediately. Don’t attempt to shut off service or repair, clamp or bury the damaged line.
  • Warn others around you and leave the area immediately if you know you’ve hit a natural gas line or think you may have hit one. Natural gas is extremely dangerous and flammable when it leaks and a line is exposed.
  • If an injury has occurred, call 911.
  • If you damage a natural gas line and gas is blowing, you MUST call 911.
  • Call us at 605-697-8418 to inform us of the damage, and we will dispatch the proper crew to make repairs.
  • Call 811 to inform the South Dakota One Call center of the damage - have your original locate request ticket number available.
  • Wait for proper crews to make repairs. They will inform you when it’s safe to continue your project.

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Learn more about the services that Brookings Municipal Utilities offers to the Brookings area.