As the summer winds down, you may be thinking about ways to boost your curb appeal with easy projects like landscaping changes and lighting upgrades. For any project that requires you to dig, it’s important that you first know where the underground utility lines are located around your property. Call 811 at least 48 hours before breaking ground to have your lines marked.

Your call alerts AEP Ohio and other utility companies of your plans to dig and allows us to send a professional to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines, free of charge. 

Damaging an underground utility line while digging can lead to serious injuries, environmental issues and power outages. Ohio law requires that anyone digging call 811 at least 48 hours, but no more than 10 days, before digging. Failure to call could result in penalties or fines. 

Think you know what’s underground? It’s possible that utility lines have shifted or new lines were installed since you last worked in a particular area. It’s always better to be safe than cause a disruption of your electric service.

Planting just below the surface? Many utility lines are buried just a few inches below the ground. You can easily hit a line while doing small projects like planting flowers, trees or shrubs around your property. 

Installing a mailbox or light pole? Areas along roads or driveways are often prime locations for underground utility lines. Don’t risk leaving your neighbors in the dark because you forgot to plan ahead. 

Working with a contractor? Don’t assume your contractor has called 811 before working on your property. It’s up to you to be aware of underground lines before allowing any project to begin. 

Know what’s below by calling 811 before you dig. For more safety tips and resources, visit and

10 responses to “Safety First: Call Before You Dig

  1. I called 811 last week and have heard back from everyone except AEP. I was going to plant trees in the back yard. Assuming it’s safe to dig back there?

  2. I’m glad you talked about the importance of locating any underground lines before a digging project. Recently, my wife and I decide we want to improve our backyard’s look. We want to turn it into an oasis with a swimming pool included, so we’ll be sure to look into a locator service. Thanks for the information on underground utility lines.

  3. We’re planning on installing a drain at the corner of our concrete patio, and tying in this drain to an existing storm drain located on the corner of our house. I plan on calling 811 because I remember our electrical service to our home runs in a path where I will be crossing over the power line. My home was built in approximately early 80’s, what was the residential code for depth for main power lines for residential service at that time?

    1. Hi Steve. Thanks for your question. According to code, the conduit and cable should be at least 30 inches below the surface; however, because your home was built more than 40 years you can’t be sure it was installed at the proper depth. Please use extreme caution when digging for your drain!

  4. Hi have submitted request to mark lines before planting fruit trees in my back yard.
    Ticket A122100036-00A
    Columbia Gas marked the lines, however no response from AEP.
    I am assuming that no conflict/objection from AEP.

    I am moving forwarding to plant trees as planned.


    1. Hello Venkat. Call 8-1-1 has a system that you can use to verify all utilities have responded to your dig request, thus closing the communication loop. You will need your ticket number provided when your request was submitted. Additional info can be found here:

  5. Thanks for pointing out that there are utility lines that might have shifters or some new lines installed underground. With that in mind, we should have non-destructive digging services and GPR as well to check the backyard. We just wanted to finally have a pool of our own this year, so I hope that we get it checked first before the project starts.

  6. Made a ticket with 811 last week, USIC came and marked but no AEP. I wanted to plant bushes/a tree in the back yard. Should I go ahead?

    1. Good question, Madison. This is an issue regarding properly marking underground lines, so you should call back 811 for their help before you start planting. Good luck!

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