Appropriate Contacts

This part has information on digging protocol and how to make the appropriate contacts.

Required Steps

  • Every general contractor, contractor, or subcontractor excavating at a job site must have his or her own Underground Service Alert (USA) identification (ticket) number for the excavation work he or she is performing.
  • Excluding emergency situations, parties planning excavation activities must contact the appropriate regional notification center not less than two working days, nor more than 14 calendar days, prior to the start of work.

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Upon notification, the center will issue an identification (ticket) number. The ticket number will be valid for 28 calendar days. If work is to continue past 28 calendar days, the ticket number must be revalidated by again notifying the center before the ticket number expires. At the site, excavators must clearly mark the boundaries of the work area, usually with white paint. Within these boundary markings, operators of underground installations must then provide information about their facilities, mark or stake the location of their lines clearly using the appropriate color to show what type of installation is present, or advise of clearance.

  • If, during the course of the job, the operator's markings become no longer visible, the excavator must contact the regional center and request the operator to re-mark the lines within two working days.
  • Using the operator's markings, an excavator must determine the exact location of underground facilities with hand tools before any power equipment may be used.