First Time 811 Users

As a first time user of 811, the following is information you will need to know when excavating near buried facilities.

  • Each member company will mark their underground lines with a designated color using spray paint or flags. The following is a list of each color code and the utility they represent:


Red indicates electric
Yellow indicates gas
Orange indicates communication lines, including both telephone and cable television
Blue indicates water
Green indicates Sewer

  • Once the lines have been marked, state law requires that you do not dig within 18 inches on either side of the facility markings. This is known as the safety or “tolerance” zone.


  • If you do have to dig within the safety or “tolerance” zone, state law requires that you use “non-invasive” methods. This is commonly considered to be hand digging or use of technology known as “vacuum excavating”. When digging within the tolerance zone it is critical to use care and caution.


  • Alabama 811 member utilities will mark their facilities free of charge. The locate request you just placed is a free service. By using 81, our member utilities will mark the lines that belong to them, which include any facilities in the right of way of a property or up to the meter at the house or building. Most people are excavating in the right of way or in the area where the utility owns the lines. However, if you are working around lines past the meter, these are considered service lines and are “owned” by the property owner, not the utility. This would include water lines from the meter to the house or a gas service line from the meter to a backyard grill, etc. If you will be working in those areas and find you need these service lines located in addition to what has been marked by the utilities through the 811 service, there are locating companies who can locate them for you. There may be a fee associated with them doing this. Remember, there is no charge for the request you have placed with Alabama 811.


  • All utility companies are not members of Alabama 811 if there are any utilities that were not named please contact them directly.


  • If you talked directly to our office, the 811 agent should have given you the date for when the locate request should be marked and how long the request is good for. The law requires a 2 working day notice to allow the facility owners to mark their lines. A locate requests is good for 10 working days. State law requires that if you working past the 10 working days, you need to update your request to ensure the utilities know you are still working around their lines. Keep your reference number available, as this is proof of your notifying the utilities and complying with the state law.


  • If the 2 working notice should expire and a particular utility has not located, we suggest you call us back with your reference number so that we can send out a second notice to that utility requesting them to mark ASAP. This is for your protection.