Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the North Carolina 811 FAQ Knowledge Management Center. We have developed a highly in-depth listing of questions and answers for both excavators and our member facility owners.


When I dial 811, I get a busy signal, what else can I do to reach 811?

You can dial 1-800-632-4949 or you can go online and use Single Address Ticket to request a locate ticket.

What happens if I don’t call 811 before digging?

If you do not find out where it is safe to dig in your yard, it is quite possible that you will find a buried utility service and potentially create a life threatening situation. Damaging a telephone or fiber optic line may not only cause you inconvenience by the loss of your telephone, cable TV or internet service, but could deprive the neighborhood of emergency assistance. This would make it impossible for law enforcement and emergency personnel to get the information they need to keep you and your community safe. Damaging gas lines could result in serious burn injuries and escaping gas could result in a community evacuation. Damaging an electrical line could cause major burns or electrocution.

Does the 811 service give us a call or text with the approximate time/date of the service?

North Carolina 811 will notify you of the status of your locate thru our Positive Response system via the email you provided when you contacted 811. You can also check the status from our website or app at by entering in your ticket number. Please note that NC811 does not perform the locates nor do we employ any locators or manage their schedules. The utility locators we notify are required by law to report back to our Positive Response system so excavators can check the locate status.

What must I do to get my underground lines marked?

Dial 811 anywhere within North Carolina. Or call 1-800-632-4949. Please have something to write with.  At the end of the call you will be provided a ticket number that will allow you to check the status of your locate request or update your locate request if excavation will take longer than 15 working days. During your call you will be asked for your phone number, email address, the county, city, and address where the excavation will take place.  Upon providing your email address NC811 will send you a copy of your locate request. In addition at the end of 3 full working days you will receive an email stating what utilities have been located or cleared by our positive response system.

If you would rather skip the call and put in your ticket online you can use Single Address Ticket or if you are a professional excavator use Remote Ticket Entry.

What info do I need before calling 811?

You will need to know the address of where you plan to dig, including the county and nearest cross street, as well as the type of project you’re completing and the exact area on the property where you’re planning to dig. Whether you call 811 or make your request online, you’ll need the same info.

After I contact 811, what do I do?

You need to wait 3 full working days to allow utilities to respond to your request and ensure that all utilities have indeed responded via Positive Response to your request before breaking ground. Once all utilities have marked their buried lines, you should dig carefully around any utility marks and consider relocating projects that are close to buried utilities.

How do I put in a locate request in online?

Use Single Address Ticket our web based ticket entry program.

How do I check the status of my ticket?

The Positive Response system allows participating utilities and contract locators to furnish you with the status of your locate request. You can call the toll free number of 1-877-632-5050 or visit the Positive Response section of our website.

Can I update or revise a ticket online? or What if a I need to work longer than the 15 working days?

If you need to update a ticket, you can do so by using Update Lite: If you need to revise a ticket, you can use REVISE:

On what day can a locate be updated?

A locate request can be updated at any time between the 4th and 12th working day of the ticket.

Can I cancel a locate request once it’s been opened if plans to dig have changed?

Call NC811 and give the customer service representative your ticket number and then tell them you wish to cancel your ticket. Remote Ticket Entry users can go online and cancel their locate requests with the RTE system.

Why did they mark my lawn? I didn’t call 811.

You can use Near Ticket to find out. Near Ticket uses your GPS location to pull up live locate information in your area. This information will include who is digging and why, along with a map of the located area.

How deep are utilities normally buried?

The depth of the facilities is not known by NC811.  Facility owners will bury their lines according to their industry’s code.  However, facility depths can vary due to installation practices, changes in grade, soil erosion, and other variables that occur over time.

Are there lines that 811 will not mark? or What is considered a “Private” utility line?

Contacting 811 will NOT get your private lines marked. You must contact a private line locator directly. Private utility lines include those for ground sprinkler systems, invisible pet fences, propane lines from the tank to the home/building, electric lines to outbuildings and decorative lampposts, satellite tv lines from the satellite to the home, as well as water and sewer lines. Facility owners are generally responsible for the underground facility up to the meter. Any underground facility between the meter and the home/building is considered to be a private utility line. Water meters are usually located in an underground box near the property line. Other utility meters are usually found on the side of homes/buildings. See a listing of Private Line locators here

Do I need to be at home to have my utilities located?

No, the facility locator will arrive and mark the underground facilities in the vicinity of the excavation anytime within three full working days after the day the request was made. The area to be marked must be accessible (free from animals and locked gates). If you have a locked gate, you will need to let 811 know so they can mention that in the notes of the locate ticket. This way the locator knows to contact you directly to schedule a time for the locate to be performed.

Does NC811 have an app?

Yes, we do! Download our app for FREE for Apple & Android. Click here to learn more and visit the online app stores.

At what time does a ticket clear on the 3rd working day?

End of day, which is 11:59 pm

I see flags or paint on the ground. What do the colors mean?

The following facility members will mark their lines in either water soluble paint or flags. The color codes are as follows: Proposed excavation will be marked in white, power lines will mark in red, gas lines will mark in yellow, all communication lines will mark in orange, water marks in blue, sewer marks in green and Purple is for Reclaimed Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines. Please stay at least 24 inches outside the exterior sides of any markings. If you must dig within the 24 inches please hand dig with caution. Members are not responsible for marking private lines.

What is the required response time for after-hour emergency requests?

NC811 is unable to provide an exact time when a facility will be marked or when a facility owner will provide a response.  NC811 does transmit the after-hour emergency request immediately to include an automated telephone call to the members within the area of excavation.  Some facility owners may respond quicker than others depending upon the member’s after-hour procedures. Other factors include travel time to the excavation site from where the locator is located during the after-hours.

Does a destroyed marks ticket get immediate response from locators?

No; Member facility owners have three full working days (excluding the day of notice) to provide a response and to mark any affected underground facilities.   These types of locates may be given a higher priority by the member facility owner, but that is not known by NC811.  State law does not address a locate by time frame for “re-marks”. It is the responsibility of the excavator to maintain and preserve any marked/staked areas.

How and when should I remove locator paint markings from hard surfaces?

The locator used water soluble paint. The markings will dissipate over time due to weather but that may take months to do so. To remove the markings faster, first wait until the life of the ticket has expired and there will no longer be any excavation in that area. Methods of removal include scrubbing with a soft bristle brush and pressure washing the surface of the area. Some surfaces which are porous can be harder to clean than others. Locate companies will not return to remove flags or paint. If you feel that the paint has damaged part of your property, you should contact the locate company that marked the area in question. Contact information is on your locate ticket. Please note: NC811 is the notification center and we do not employ utility locators. Locators work for or are contracted by the utilities that are being marked.

When can I remove the flags or other physical markings on my property?

Flags and other physical markings are good for 15 full working days and should not be moved or removed before that time unless all excavation work is completed and not expected to resume.

What do I do if I damage an underground facility?

If this should happen, do not cover up the line with dirt…Stop digging! The excavator performing the excavation or demolition that results in any damage to a facility shall immediately upon discovery of the damage notify NC811 AND the facility operator, if known. The excavator must allow the operator and/or the operator’s authorized personnel reasonable time to complete the repairs before completing the excavation or demolition in the immediate area of the facility.    All back-filling should be delayed until authorized by the operator.

The excavator must immediately notify emergency responders, including 911 services, NC811, and the facility operator if the damage to a facility results in any the following:

•          Discharge of electricity
•          Escape of any flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas or liquid
•          Endangers life, health, or property

The excavator must also take reasonable measures to protect themselves, other persons in immediate danger, members of the general public, property and the environment until the operator or emergency responders arrive and complete an assessment of the situation.

Please keep in mind, underground facilities can be damaged by any piece of equipment used for digging. Something as simple as a shovel can gouge, scrape, dent, or crease the casing that surrounds a buried utility line. While this type of damage usually does not cause immediate harm, it may lead to a future break or leak as the protective coating erodes.

Does a damage ticket notify every facility in the area or just the facility that was damaged?

All members within the area of excavation will be notified of the damage.  Some excavators may not be aware of the facility that was damaged and there could be possible damages to other underground facilities within the site of excavation.

Am I required to contact both NC811 and the facility owner to report a damage?

Yes; NC General Statutes require that the excavator performing an excavation that results in a damage to contact NC811 and the facility owner if known.

Can I call in a 3-hour ticket without checking the job site for visible marks?

A 3-hour notice can be requested for an existing request if the excavator is aware of OR observes indications of an umarked facility.   A 3-hour notice cannot be requested if the excavator gave less than a three business day notice.  NC811 cannot define what “aware of” means.  NC General Statutes do not define what “aware of” means.  When the excavator requests the notice they should be able to tell the CSR what type of facility they believe to be in conflict.

When calling in a locate for an intersection, how many streets can be included?

Two; but the total distance to be located cannot exceed 1,320 feet (¼ mile).

Acceptable:   From the intersection of STEPHANIE LN AND BROWN AVE, Locate both sides of STEPHANIE LN for 1000 feet south and BROWN AVE for 250 feet west.
Reason why Acceptable: Total distance is equal to/less than ¼ mile.   1000ft + 250ft= 1,250 ft

Not Acceptable:  From the intersection of STEPHANIE LN AND BROWN AVE, Locate both sides of STEPHANIE LN for 1000 feet north and BROWN AVE for 1000 feet east.
Reason why  Not Acceptable:  Total distance exceeds ¼ mile.

After checking positive response, a facility locator responded with code 60, Locator agreed and documented marking schedule, but I was not contacted nor spoke with anyone. What do I do?

If more than one contact name was provided, such as the site contact, check with that individual to determine if they spoke with the facility locator.  If not, contact NC811 and speak with a Customer Service Representative who can re-transmit the request to the facility owner in question.

Who do I contact when someone is continuously and purposefully removing the facility markings and assistance is needed immediately?

For immediate assistance, NC811 suggests local law enforcement be contacted.

If a general contractor asks for a locate ticket, does the sub-contractor also have to obtain a ticket if they are going to be excavating as well?

The law states (87-122(a) “Before commencing any excavation or demolition operation, the person responsible for the excavation or demolition shall provide or cause to be provided notice to the Notification Center of his or her intent to excavate or demolish.”

The person responsible may be the General contractor, even though the person performing the work itself may be a sub. NC 811 may take the ticket from the person responsible and then indicate the name(s) of sub-contractors performing the excavation itself. It is a CGA best practice that the person performing the actual excavation have a copy of the ticket information on site (BP 5-13 One Call reference at Site).


I have received tickets that are classified as an emergency but the work suggests otherwise. Why did NC811 create this ticket and what can I do to complain?

When a CSR is told by a caller to create an emergency ticket, the CSR is instructed to do so. If you feel that someone is abusing the system through emergency requests that are not a threat to life, health or property you will need to contact the North Carolina Underground Damage Prevention Review Board to file an official complaint.

Is a member charged for cancelled or re-transmitted tickets?

A Cancellation and a Re-transmit are both considered as a transmission because NC811 is transmitting the information to the member facility owner.  All members are charged based upon transmissions not types of tickets received.

Didn’t see what you were looking for? Use these contact forms and direct your inquiry to the proper department.

Please Note:
NC law requires anyone engaging in excavation or demolition activities to contact NC811 at least three working days prior to starting the work. NC811 will then notify the member facility owners within your area of excavation or demolition. The member facility owner has three working days to provide a response and to mark any underground facilities that may be in conflict with the work area. Only publicly owned lines will be marked by the facility owner. NC811 is a non-profit organization fully funded by the member facility owners and managed by a board of directors. NC811 is not a government agency.​