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What is 811? Locating Utility Lines for Your Fence Installation


What is 811?

Prior to having a fence installed, your underground utility lines must be marked so that a fence company can safely dig on your property. 

811 is a national call-before-you-dig service that will request to have your utility lines located and marked by your local utility companies or third-party other locating services. 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. 

Is contacting 811 required?

Yes! Any digging requires contacting your 811 center, either by calling 811 from anywhere in the U.S. or making your request through your state 811 center’s website. Planting a garden? Installing a fence or mailbox? You must contact 811.

When you dial 811, you will automatically be connected to a representative from your state’s 811 center who will ask you simple questions about the location and details of your digging project. If you request online, you will enter the same information into a form. Either way, you will receive a ticket number and instructions for how much time utilities have to respond to your request and how to confirm that all utilities have responded before you can safely dig.

When contracting a company to install your fence, they should take care of this for you and request to have your utility lines located through 811 before your installation date. The time it takes for your utility lines to be marked depends on local response times. These lines will be marked with temporary spray paint and/or flags. 

Public Utilities vs. Private Utilities

It is important to note that the 811 ticket only covers your public utilities. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to locate and mark private utility lines such as irrigation and septic. Here is a list of some of the most common private utilities to be aware of. Private lines include but are not limited to:

A) Underground sprinkler and/ or irrigation lines
B) Underground water lines that feed a swimming pool or other structure
C) Underground electric lines (other than local utility lines) that supply power to lamp posts,
walkway/yard lighting, pool wiring, sheds, invisible dog fences, wells, etc.
D) French drains or related items
E) Any electrical, water, or cable locations (including satellite lines) where the utility in your city did not provide marking services
F) All public utilities are connected to meters (including water). After a public utility reaches the meter on your house/property, that line is considered private. If the lines leave the meter and runs to another area of the house, that line will not be marked by the locating service.

All lines marked by a locating service (public lines) have a grace area of 2 feet to each side of the marking. That means the line could be within a 4-foot-wide path. Big Jerry’s Fencing will attempt to span that area when setting our posts. If spanning that area is not possible or practical, Big Jerry’s Fencing will make every effort to carefully hand dig. Please note that the placement of a gate or a post may be dictated by the location of any public or private utility line.

If you have any questions regarding the utilities at your property, please contact your local Big Jerry’s Fencing representative.

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