The 811 Process

Homeowners – Businesses – Contractors
Anyone involved in digging.

Utility providers delivering power, heat, water, telephone, sewer, gas, and cable television services to your home or business often use underground infrastructure. It’s crucial to note that these buried service lines may be located close to the surface, posing a risk during excavation. To ensure safety, reach out to 811 via phone or online. By contacting NC811, your excavation needs will be communicated to member utility companies, prompting them to dispatch professional locators to mark their buried lines at no cost to you.

Compliance with the law mandates that individuals responsible for excavation must submit a notification request to NC 811 three full business days in advance. This timeframe allows underground utilities the opportunity to mark their lines, preventing any potential interference during the excavation process. It’s important to note that NC 811 doesn’t perform the actual marking of utilities. Instead, we facilitate the notification process on your behalf, promoting safety for both you and the utility services involved.

Explore the 811 process in a detailed, step-by-step fashion using this interactive presentation on Google Slides.

Single Address Ticket and Remote Ticket Entry gives you the ability to create your own locate request online. Positive Response assists you in checking the status of your locate. Update Lite will let you update a locate ticket if your digging project is going to take longer than you expected. Revise will let you make changes to a locate request. And Near Ticket will show you who else may be digging near you and why. Private lines won’t be marked when contacting 811. You will need a private line locator to do that. We have developed a regional contact a list of private line locators.


Click on each step below for detailed information.

STEP ONE: Contact 811

You can call 811 directly or use our web-based ticket system, Single Address Ticket (SAT)
Professional excavators who create more complex and multiple locate requests can use
Remote Ticket Entry.

Have the following information ready when you contact 811:

  1. Phone number
  2. Address (including the county)
  3. Is it in a subdivision?
  4. A cross-street name (nearest intersecting street & is it within a 1/4 mile)
  5. Where exactly is the area you wish to have located? (are you marking the area with white paint or flags) Learn more about white lining your excavation area.
  6. Work date, time, how long will the work take, what type of work is it and who is it for?
  7. For a full listing of required locate request information click here

    You will be given a ticket number and a verbal list of utility companies that are notified by North Carolina 811. This does not mean each member listed owns buried utilities on your property. You will want to write down the names of the utility companies for easy reference. Every utility company is not a member of North Carolina 811.

STEP TWO: Wait the required time


Member facility operators of North Carolina 811 are granted a period of three full working days, commencing from the day following the receipt of a notice, to mark their facilities. The provided calendar illustrates the anticipated excavation availability based on the day of the week when the notice is issued. It’s essential to note that this timeline does not pertain to subaqueous locates or Design/Survey locates, as these require a longer span of 10 full working days, beginning the day after the notice is provided.

To clarify: The owner of the member facility is responsible for marking their underground facilities, commencing from the beginning of the next working day after the locate is placed and concluding by 11:59 pm on the third working day.


Tickets remain valid for a duration of 15 working days, commencing from the day after the notice is given. In the event that additional time for excavation is required beyond the 15th working day, it is advisable to update the ticket by the 12th working day. This update allows for the issuance of a new 3 full working day notice, ensuring uninterrupted locate coverage. The provided calendar illustrates instances when a ticket should be updated and when it would expire within this time sequence.


​What is a private line?
It is the responsibility of the excavator to contact a utility locating company to have any private lines located. The utility company determines public utility lines themselves, and the maintenance usually ends where the meter of the particular line is. Beyond the meter and up to the building or home, including the backyard, is then considered a private utility, for which the property owner is responsible.

The excavator bears the responsibility of reaching out to a utility locating company for the identification of any private lines. Public utility lines are determined by the utility company, and their maintenance typically concludes at the meter of the specific line. Areas beyond the meter, extending to the building or home are classified as private utilities. The property owner assumes responsibility for these private utilities.

STEP THREE: Check Positive Response

Positive Response is a means for the utility members of North Carolina 811 to provide information regarding the status of your location request. Have the facilities been marked? Does the locator need to meet with the contractor or are there no facilities in the area of excavation? There is no charge to the excavator in retrieving the information and members can save the cost of retransmitted location requests. ​

STEP FOUR: Respect the marks

Your property’s underground facilities will be marked with color-coded paint, stakes, or flags. It is crucial not to disturb these markers once the underground facilities have been located. It’s advisable to communicate to young children that the brightly colored flags are not toys and should not be removed. Utilize the color code chart as a reference to identify the marked underground facilities.

STEP FIVE: Dig with care

The location tolerance zone width encompasses 24 inches on each side of the utility, in addition to the utility’s width. If excavation within the tolerance zone is necessary, it is advisable to proceed with caution and opt for manual digging to minimize the potential for damage to the located utility. NC811 does not possess information about the depth of the facilities. Facility owners follow their industry’s code when burying lines; nevertheless, variations in facility depths may arise due to installation practices, alterations in grade, soil erosion, and other factors that evolve over time.

In case of damage, it is essential to inform the facility owner directly, and you can call 811 to file a report on damage to underground facilities. If a gas product release occurs, promptly and safely relocate upwind and dial 911 to report the incident.