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Avoiding Underground Utilities: Better The Devil You Know!

Before you begin any construction project – big or small – it’s essential to know where your underground utilities are. This way, you can avoid damaging them and causing costly repairs.

Many people assume they can dig wherever they want and figure out the utility locations once they start hitting pipes and cables. But this is a huge mistake. To effectively avoid accidents and expensive repairs, it’s best to call in a professional who can locate and mark your underground utilities ahead of time.

This blog post will unearth some tips on checking underground utilities before digging. Keep scrolling to learn more!

Step 1: Survey and Mark

Before crunching your machine down into the earth, take some time to survey the area. You’ll need to know where your proposed excavation sites are in relation to your underground utilities. The best way to perform this is by using stakes and flags to mark the area.

Once you’ve taken the time to survey and mark your digging areas, it will be easier to see if you’re in the clear to excavate or not. If you hit an underground utility, you can seriously damage your equipment.

Step 2: Call Before You Dig

While we have 911 for emergencies, there’s also a particular number to call before you start excavating: 811. This is the free “Call Before You Dig” service. By calling this number, you’ll get a better understanding of the location of underground utilities in your area.

Make sure to ring them up at least 2 working days before you plan to start excavating. This will give the utility companies enough time to come and mark the locations of their lines.

Step 3: Wait the Required Time

This step is where several people go wrong. Just because you’ve called and received the all-clear from the utility companies, it doesn’t mean you can start digging right away. You still have to wait the necessary time before starting your excavation project.

In most cases, this is 48 hours. But you can always find exceptions, so it’s best to consult your local authorities. If you start excavating before the required time has passed, you could hit a utility line and cause a lot of damage. Not to mention, you could be held responsible for any damages.

Step 4: Respect the Marks

Once the utilities are located, it’s essential to respect the marks that have been placed on the ground. These marks indicate where the utility lines are buried, so you need to avoid excavating in those areas.

Don’t take any chances with machines unless you’re sure that you can avoid hitting any buried utility lines. Even a tiny mistake could result in severe damage and costly repairs. Instead, hand excavate within 24 inches of each side of the utilities to avoid potential damage.


If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s always a good idea to get help from a professional. Scorpion Construction LLC has years of experience working in Lakeland, FL, offering asphalt & concrete pavement excavation services. We’re always here to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Get your free estimate today!