What is a ticket?

A "ticket" is the industry-wide term that refers to the document you submit through USA North 811, which request the utility members to mark or locate their facilities at your worksite. After submitting your ticket (online or over the phone), you will receive a ticket number that is the reference number for your individual request. Your ticket number will begin with either a “W” or an “X” and will be followed by 9 numbers. Make sure to keep the ticket number assigned to your request for at least the duration of the excavation and preferably longer for your records.

I’m not digging very deep; should I submit a ticket?

Yes. You should contact 811 no matter how deep you are digging, since many cables and pipes lie at extremely shallow depths. If you’re ready to submit a ticket, please click here.

How do I know which utilities were notified of my request?

At the bottom of your ticket is a list of the utility members we notified for you. If you listed an email address on your request, you should receive a copy of your ticket via email. You can also look up and print a copy of your ticket here.

What are my responsibilities when requesting an area to be check for lines?

  • Provide correct address/site location information and correct locating instructions.
  • Provide valid contact information and respond to questions from utility personnel.
  • Make sure the address is clearly posted at the site.
  • Provide open access to the property (gates unlocked, animals contained, etc.).
  • Write down and follow the dates and times when your request becomes legally active, when it expires, and when it must be updated.
  • Keep the ticket number assigned to your request for at least the duration of the excavation and preferably longer for your records. The number is proof of your request through USA North 811 and allows us to quickly find your request.

I submitted my 811 request, when can I start digging?

You can begin your excavation once the following conditions have been met:

It is beyond the start time listed on the ticket or the legal notice (two working day's notice not including the day of notification), whichever is later, has passed and all notified utility members have positively responded to your request.

If the start date and time for your ticket has passed, and one or more of our utility members has yet to respond to your request, please refrain from digging and contact 811 as soon as possible by dialing 8-1-1 so that we may notify the utility member(s) in question regarding their no response. You are not clear to dig until you receive a response from all utility members on your ticket. If you need a copy of your ticket to verify which utility members were notified, please click the Get a Copy of your Ticket â button located under the “Quick Link's section at the top of our website.

Who marks the utility lines?

Each utility member is responsible to locate their own facilities. Some utility members utilize in-house locators, while others hire 3rd party locators to mark for them. USA North 811 is not a locating service.

Do I need to pre-mark my dig site?

Yes. Show the utility members exactly where you plan to dig by pre-marking your dig site with white paint. If you don't have white paint available, you can also use white stakes, white flags, white whiskers, white chalk and even white baking flour. If you neglect to pre-mark your dig site, the utility members may choose not to locate their facilities. For further information regarding pre-marking or delineating your dig site, please watch our "How to Premark" instructional video".

Which lines are going to be marked at my site?

The utility members notified on your ticket are responsible to mark or locate the facilities they own and operate at your dig site. Private utility lines (landscape irrigation and lighting, natural gas line to a barbeque, electrical line to a detached garage or shed, etc) will not be marked since they are not owned by a utility.

I've damaged an underground utility line, what do I do?

If the damaged utility line poses a threat to life, health, or public safety, evacuate the worksite (300' or more upwind from damage) and contact 911 to dispatch emergency services. If you discover or cause any damage (breaks, leaks, nicks, dents, gouges, grooves, or other damage to subsurface installation lines, conduits, coatings, or cathodic protection) you must immediately report it to the affected utility member. You can get the emergency contact information for the damaged utility owner by contacting 811 and notify them that you have damaged a facility at your worksite. Never attempt to fix, repair, pinch, squeeze, zip tie, or bury the damaged facility.

There are utility markings in the area where I planned to dig, how do I proceed?

When digging in an area around utility lines, it is critical that you follow the tolerance zone guidelines. The tolerance zone is an area 24" on either side of the outside diameter (or center line if diameter isn't provided) of the marked utility line. In the tolerance zone, you are required to excavate using only human powered hand tools.

Are you owned or operated by a utility company? Are you a state agency? Who funds your operation?

USA North 811 is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization funded by over 1,500 utility owners and governed by 34 board members elected from the membership. We are not directly owned or operated by any utility company and are not an agency of the state of California or Nevada.

Who is responsible to clean up or remove the paint markings after a job is complete?

We recommend that the excavator or person/company requesting the marks to remove the markings when the work is complete. It is the excavator's responsibility to protect the markings during the excavation, and because they are the only ones who know when a job is done and are also the party that requested the markings, it is recommended that they be the ones who remove the markings when the job is complete.

Can I submit my 811 request online?

Due to high call volumes and increased excavation activity, our 811 phone lines can at times become backlogged with callers waiting to submit their request. Because of this, we always advise our customers to submit their requests online instead. If you are working at an address, you can submit your ticket online quickly and easily at If you are working at any other type of location other than an address, you can sign up for our E-Ticket program that will allow you to submit any type of location online. For information on signing up for E-Tickets, please visit our E-Tickets sign up page.

I forgot to submit my 811 request and I supposed to start my work tomorrow; can I submit an emergency request?

All excavation requests require a minimum of two working days notice prior to the start of excavation. State law identifies which factors qualify a request as an emergency, and if your excavation does not meet those requirements you cannot submit an emergency request. To see if your excavation meets the requirements of an emergency notification, please see the state specific emergency definitions below:

California: Emergency means a sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services.

Nevada: Emergency means a sudden, unexpected occurrence that involves clear and imminent danger and requires immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of life or damage to health, property or essential public services.

I lost my ticket number, where can I look it up?

If you provided us with your email address when you submitted your ticket you would have received a copy of your ticket. Check your email inbox and see if you can find the email copy we sent you. If you cannot track down the email copy, you can look up your ticket using our ticket search program: Simple Ticket Search. If you still cannot find your ticket, please call 811 and advise the customer service representative that you need help looking up your ticket number.

How will I know if all of the utility members on my ticket have responded to my request?

The utility members listed on your ticket can respond in a number of different ways, including marking the location of their underground facilities at your site, contacting you via email or phone to advise you that your site is clear from any conflict with their underground facilities, or by providing you information about the location of their underground facilities such as maps or as-built plans. You can also check our Positive Response page using your ticket number and the utility members who use the program will record a response to your ticket here. You are required by law to get a response from all utility members on your ticket before you can begin your work.

What do the colors mean?

The utility members will use the American Public Works Association Color Code system to mark their underground facilities for you. The color code is:

White: Proposed Excavation

Pink: Temporary Survey Markings

Red: Electric Power Lines, Cables, Conduit and Lighting Cables

Yellow: Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or Gaseous Materials

Orange: Communication, Alarm or Signal Lines, Cables or Conduits

Blue: Potable Water

Purple: Reclaimed Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines

Green: Sewers and Drain Lines

What counties does USA North 811 cover?

In California, we serve the following counties:

Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, Yuba

If you are working in Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, or Ventura please contact Dig Alert to submit your request.

In Nevada, we serve the following counties:

Carson, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Pershing, Storey, Washoe, White Pine

What are your hours of operation?

USA North 811 is now open 24x7 to take your locate requests. During overnight and weekend hours however we have limited staffing available, so we ask that you please submit your tickets online during these hours via our E-Ticket or 811 Express platform unless it is an emergency or priority situation.

What information do I need to describe my work location?

The information you will need to have prior to submitting your ticket include:

  • Your contact information (including email and phone number)
  • The name and contact information of the person doing the work or site contact if other than you
  • The starting date and time the work will begin (keep in mind you are required to give a minimum of two working day's notice, not including the day of your notification to us, prior to the start of the planned excavation)
  • Pre-mark/delineation type (did you Pre-mark your site in White, or another method/color?)
  • The type of work you are doing or what you are digging for specifically
  • The location of where the work is being done, including the county and city it is in, the address (if applicable) or location of the planned dig, and the specific details of where the work is being performed at the site (front of address, NW corner of intersection, east side of building, etc.)
  • The GPS coordinates of the digging location in NAD 83 decimal degrees format (not required, but helpful if available)

Where can I find more information about any state or local requirements I must meet during my digging project?

To view the California excavation law, please click here: CA Law

To view the Nevada excavation law, please click here: NV Law - Nevada Revised Statutes & Nevada Administrative Code

For any local requirements, please consult the building or permitting office in the city/county in which the work is being done in.

Which utilities are members of USA North 811?

To view a list of the underground utilities that are a member of USA North 811, please click the following links:

CA Members

NV Members

I've been working at my site and now the markings are no longer visible; how can I have the utility members re-mark my site?

If markings are no longer visible, immediately stop work in the area and request re-markings at the site. To request re-marks, contact 811 and make sure you have your ticket number handy. When the operator answers let them know you need remarks at your site. Please make sure to note which utilities you need remarks from, and also if it is the entire area or only a specific area of the job where you need the remarks. If you submitted your ticket online through our E-Ticket platform, you can submit this request online through your account. If you need assistance with submitting this through your E-Ticket account, please contact our Online Services department at

I am hiring a sub-contractor to do work at my jobsite, who needs to contact 811 and submit the utility locate request?

Each person or company performing an excavation needs to have a ticket created under their name. If you are hiring a sub-contractor to perform work on your property, the sub-contractor needs to contact 811 and submit their own request for them/their company. The sub-contractor cannot work under another contractor or sub-contractors existing 811 ticket.

What should I do if I haven't gotten a response from all of the utility members listed on my ticket?

If the start time on your ticket has passed (must be beyond the legal notice) and you have not received a response from one or more utility members listed on your ticket, state law requires you to contact 811 to report a "no response" situation.

Excavation Law

California Nevada