FAQ

For Contractors, Excavators & Homeowners

Q: Where can I get information on state, local and federal regulations?

You can find the Alaska Damage Prevention Statutes regarding excavations in Title 42, Chapter 30, and Anchorage Municipal Code in Chapter 26,  U.S. Code of Federal Regulations: 49CFR196; 49CFR198; 49USC.60114

Q: I forgot to call and the crew is coming tomorrow, can I get an Emergency Locate?

No.  Emergency Locate Requests are provided as a result of an immediate threat to public safety.                                                     Examples of emergencies:  Broken Gas or Petroleum Line, Broken Water or Sewer Main, Electric Fault/power outage affecting more than 1 customer, Telecommunication Fault/outage affecting more than 1 customer, a sinkhole in a public road, and Petroleum product spills.

Q: I am having trouble using the Online Order Form.  Where can I get help?

Training videos can be found on the 811 Alaska YouTube Channel.  

Q: I hear there is now Federal enforcement of the Alaska Dig Law.  How does that affect me?

PHMSA (Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) has been granted authority by the Federal Government to seek enforcement against non-compliant excavators and operators as related to pipelines in States that do not have an enforcement program of their own, effective Jan 1, 2017.   Alaska is one of those states.  You must be in compliance with Federal Pipeline Safety laws and Alaska Statutes.  Fines and penalties can be assessed for $200,000 up to $2,000,000.  Click the link to download the  Alaska PHMSA Excavation Outreach letter regarding Enforcement in Alaska.   To avoid enforcement action make sure you do the following  Every Dig, Every Time:

  • Call Before You Dig

  • Wait the required time

  • Respect the Marks

  • Obey the Tolerance Zone

  • Dig Safely

Q: What is this new 15-day Locate Expiration Date about?

Since 1998 Alaska Statute 42.30.400 – 490 has required an excavator to give notice of excavation at least 2 working days up to 15 working days prior to excavation;  or at least 10 working days up 20 working days in remote areas.  It is the excavator’s responsibility to maintain markings.  Given the volatile Alaskan weather and the constant changes to an active construction site’s conditions; if you can’t see the marks clearly don’t guess – call for a relocate to get the marks refreshed.

If you wish to keep your locate ticket “active”  or have not completed the excavation project within the 15 working days, call 811 on the 13th working day to UPDATE your ticket.  Please notify the CSR if you require fresh locates or if the update is for Locate/dig law compliance only.

Q: Why can’t I get locate service on Saturday or Sunday?

811 Member Utility companies generally have their in-house employees mark their own facilities.  That can mean that the electric company, telephone company, gas company and cable company etc. will each send someone to the site.   Regular on-site locate service is only available Monday through Friday, excluding holidays in accordance with regular utility operation schedules.  Most utility companies are staffed  8-5 Monday through Friday.  You can always place an order for locate markings online 24/7.  Just click on eTicket on the menu bar.  811 Alaska Digline will schedule your markings for completion within 2 business days (or 10 business days in remote locations) Monday through Friday.  There is no need for you take off work to be there as long as there is open access to your utility meters and the utility boxes in/near your yard and you have delineated your proposed excavation in white paint (or other identifiable means).

Q: Who is coming to mark the utility lines?

Each 811 Member facility owner marks their own buried facilities; therefore several different companies will be sending their representative to your dig site.   You should make sure the dig site is accessible for the 2-day or 10-day time frame to ensure all of the locate staff has access to meters, transformers, pedestals etc. to mark facilities in conflict with your project.

Q: I gave you the address, just do the locate.  What’s with all the questions?

While the 811 locate service may be free to you – providing this safety service is quite expensive for utilities.  The utilities have come up with a series of questions for 811 to ask the public to help eliminate unnecessary site visits.  This means knowing about details about your project and articulating where you are digging at the site.

Example: Your driveway is 1/4 mile long.  You are grinding one 10-inch diameter tree stump in the side yard approximately, 1 foot below grade. Gas, Electric, and Phone services are along your driveway.  Your meters are on the side of the house, and there is a gas main, a fiber optic trunk line, and a large water main at the ditch along the road frontage of your property.   Locating EVERYTHING on your property will take the utilities at least 1 hour each.  If you simply draw on the online order form or tell the 811 CSR where the stump is, and mark it with white paint; the facility owners will first compare the location of your stump against their facility drawings and determine if their line is near your work zone.  If nothing is nearby, they will flag your project as “no-conflict” and move on to the next project.  If a line is nearby, they will dispatch personnel to mark the service line(s) that pertain to/may be in conflict with your project, helping keep you safe and allowing the utilities to efficiently utilize personnel.

Q: How long is a locate good for?

Alaska Statute 42.30.400 – 490 requires excavators to give notice at least 2 working days up to 15 working days prior to excavation;  or at least 10 working days up 20 working days in remote areas.  It is the excavator’s responsibility to maintain markings.  Given the volatile Alaskan weather and the constant changes to an active construction site’s conditions; if you can’t see the marks clearly don’t guess – call for a relocate to get the marks refreshed.

If you wish to keep your locate ticket “active”  or have not completed the excavation project within the 15 working days, call 811 on the 13th working day to UPDATE your ticket.  Please notify the CSR if you require fresh locates or if the update is for Locate/dig law compliance only.

Q: What is the standard depth for buried utilities?

811 Alaska Digline does not have buried facility depth information.  Facilities are generally buried according to code requirements at the time of installation.  Post-installation depth varies due to erosion, ditching, extreme weather conditions (frost heaves, earthquakes, etc.), grading, landscaping, etc.  The utilities cannot control and are not responsible for what occurs at the site post-installation in regards to depth.  Therefore utilities cannot guarantee the depth of facilities,  Excavators are required to hand dig or use other soft excavation means within two feet of either side of the buried utility, or if digging deeper than ten feet, hand dig within 30 inches of the outside dimensions of the line.

Q:  I already know where my utilities are buried OR I already know there is nothing buried near where I want to dig.  Do I still have to call and wait for a locates?

Yes.  Alaska State Law requires excavators to give notice of proposed excavation so facility owners can mark the location of their facilities.  This is for your safety, the safety of those around you and to protect the buried infrastructure.  Calling 811 does not cost you, the excavator any money.  If there is nothing in the way of your project, obviously there is nothing for them to mark.  Facility owners prefer to be notified of an excavation in which they have no conflict prior to excavation than be notified of an emergency situation after excavation has begun – because someone didn’t think there was anything buried over there.

Q: What colors do the utilities use to mark underground utility lines?

Q: Do I have to be on-site when the locators arrive?

Most utilities do not require on-site presence as long as dig locations are accessible, there are no aggressive animals and the excavation site is either delineated in white paint or a clear and succinct description of your proposed dig is provided on the locate request; however, there are a few exceptions.

Q: Will the Call Center notify all the utilities in my area?

Your Damage Prevention Representative will list each member facility owner that 811 Alaska Digline WILL NOTIFY of your pending excavation. That list can also be found on the order confirmation emailed to you.  Membership in the 811 Utility Locates is voluntary. Not all buried facility owners choose to participate in 811.  Non-member utility locates will need to be coordinated with the individual companies by calling each individual non-member company directly.  811 Alaska Digline cannot tell callers who else to call as those non-member utilities do not participate in 811 Alaska Digline nor have they registered the location of their buried facilities with 811 Alaska Digline; we are not aware of nor responsible for unregistered service areas.

Q: There is no address at my dig site.  Is there an alternate way to get them to mark at an a-typical project location?

Yes.  You can submit any of the following types of alternative addresses:

  • Submit the street name, Township, Range, Section and Quarter of the project location.
  • Submit a map that includes a common fixed point of reference (business, landmark, mile marker, river etc.)
  • Submit a Google Earth map image and use the drawing tools to mark “X marks the spot”
  • Submit Geographic Coordinates of the location in decimal degrees: (example:  Latitude 61.327855, Longitude: -149.572366)

*TIP:  An easy way to get these coordinates is to use Google Earth: Click on Tools in the top menu, select options, then select the decimal degrees radio button beneath “Show Lat/Long”. This will show the coordinates at the bottom of the Google Earth window related to where your cursor is hovering on the map image.  (Caution: it changes every time you move your cursor).  Please indicate on your request form if these are approximate coordinates to get us in the vicinity or exact dig site location coordinates.

As Always, pre-marking your dig site with white paint or black paint if snow is present is the best way to ensure the correction location gets marked.

Q: Can I get the locate before the two-day notice?

811 Alaska Digline will request a “short notice” locate to make the member facility owners aware of your needs, as a courtesy.  It is highly unlikely that ALL facility owners will be able to accommodate your schedule.  State Law requires the utilities to have locates completed within 2 working days.  If an excavator digs before the two days they are in violation of state law, subject to penalties and fines.  All damages to facilities and all administrative costs will be billed to the excavator.  Remember:  locates are for your personal safety and the safety of those around you, plan ahead to dig safely.

Q: Why has nobody called me to confirm the locate has been completed?

Not all utilities in Alaska provide “positive response” at this time. Locates are required by law to be completed in two working days or within 10 working days in remote areas. It is the excavator’s responsibility to maintain the markings. However, if you believe the locates are incorrect or incomplete, 811 Alaska Digline will research it for you and work to resolve the issue in a timely manner.  You can check the locate status for those who do participate in positive response online.  If you are a homeowner click HERE.  All professional excavators click HERE.

Q: Is there a charge for this locate?

Under Alaska State Law, there is no charge to the excavator for the first underground facility marking prior to excavation on a project. Alaska Statute allows a utility to receive compensation from the excavator for costs incurred responding to subsequent requests to locate the same facility during an excavation project.  811 Member Utilities may directly charge you for locates performed in response to an Emergency after hours, weekends, and holidays.

Q: When I dial 811 from work, I can’t get through but the local and 800 number works. Why does 811 only work on some phones?

Business phone systems are programmed by technicians according to each business’s custom needs.  E-1-1 numbers such as 911 Emergency services, 411 directory information etc. are specifically allowed or disallowed during system setup.  Many businesses block 3-digit numbers, except 911 to avoid additional charges (411 charges additional fees when you use that service).  811, however, does not.  If your IT/Telecom technician has not programmed or allowed 811, it simply will not work from that business phone system.  Alaska Digline has no control over that.  Contact your IT/Telephone technician to get that corrected.  In the meantime, try dialing 811 from an outside line such as your cell phone, call us at 907.278.3121.  or you can always place an order online using eTicket 24/7.

Q: What is a private line?

A private line is any line that is consumer-owned and therefore not maintained by a member utility. Some examples are electric or gas lines to a shed, workshop or greenhouse;  water lines from a private or community well, sewer lines to a septic system; drainage systems, electric service lines from the meter to a building, city water or sewer lines beyond the Road Rights of Way or Easement.   Contact the specific utility company directly to see if the line in question is considered a private line.

Q: When is my design survey going to be completed?

Design survey utility markings may be provided by facility owners in accordance with their unique company tariffs and policies, as personnel is available. 811 Alaska Digline will process your request for design survey markings to coordinate possible utility conflicts. The scheduling of locates and/or furnishing of record drawings are coordinated by the utility personnel and the requestor directly.

For Utility Members

Q:  What methods of payment do you accept for my Alaska Digline, Inc. Membership Invoice?

Alaska Digline, Inc. accepts cash, check, EFT direct pay or you can pay by credit card (4% convenience fee applies). Mail checks to the following address:

Alaska Digline, Inc.
PO Box 773005
Eagle River, AK 99577-3005

Q: How do facility owners/utilities get on the notification list?

Facility owners sign up and register their service area with Alaska Digline and pay a membership fee to be notified of proposed excavation near their facilities. This directs excavators to trained damage prevention specialists and provides documentation of the dig location, project information, excavator as well as other member facility owners at that location. Check our membership page for more information.

To find out more about membership in the Alaska One-Call utility locates, email your inquiry to [email protected]  or fill out our application online.

Q: Where can I get the 811 logo?

811 is a Nationally recognized registered trademark owned by the Common Ground Alliance.  You can get the logo free of charge via their website www.commongroundalliance.com or CLICK HERE