Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Do I have to call if I am digging on my own property?
Yes, you are required to inform the utilities of any type of work involving the movement of earth with powered equipment.
Who should make the call?
The person who is doing the digging should place the one call notification. If you are a homeowner and you've hired an excavator to do the work, the excavator is required by law to call to have lines located (refer to Section 5 of PA Act 287).
How deep must I dig before I am required to call?
If you are digging with powered equipment the person operating the equipment must call. It does not matter how deep you are digging or where you are digging within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
What kind of questions will I be asked when I call?
For a complete list of questions, click here.
What are PA One Call's hours of operations?
The call center is open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.
How many days do I have to wait before I can begin digging?
State law requires a three (3) business day notice (does not include state holidays or weekends), but not more than ten (10) business days prior to the start of excavation. A business day begins at 12:00:00 a.m. and ends at 11:59:59 p.m. The first lawful start date for your excavation is determined by your scheduled excavation date (the day you plan to start digging), work should not begin prior to your first lawful start date but no later than 10 business days from the day of your call.
Can the lawful start dates change?
Yes, the first date of the lawful start date is determined by the scheduled excavation date and should be not less than 3 business days from the date of your call. However, if more than three (3) business days notice is given prior to the start of excavation, the first lawful start date will be the date given as your scheduled excavation date.
What can be done if I know someone is digging and they did not contact PA One Call?
According to Section 7.2 of PA Act 287 as amended, local law enforcement or emergency management personnel may, in the interest of public safety, order excavators on a site to stop further excavation, if the excavation is being conducted in violation of this act. This may also be enforced under Section 3302 of PA Title 18 Section b - Risking catastrophe.
If you observe excavation work and have reason to believe that a one call notification was not placed, you may contact PA One Call to place a No One Call notification. PA One Call will search its records for the worksite you describe to determine if a valid One Call notification was placed. If none is found we will notify the utilities in the area of the excavation work.
Additionally, any violation of the Law can be reported to the Department of Labor and Industry by filing an incident report.
What are the state holidays?
State holidays are New Years Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Do I have to mark the site in white?
You are required to mark the site in white unless you give exact site information. Marking the site means you are helping the person locating your lines to know exactly where you are digging. It also may help to get the lines marked in the correct location without any delay in your work schedule.
Who marks the lines?
Each member facility owner is responsible for sending someone to the site to mark their underground lines. Some facility owners send their own employees while others hire professional locating companies to do it. Pennsylvania One Call System does not mark the lines.
When will the lines be marked by the facility owner?
The facility owner members will respond, and if involved, mark their lines no later than the day prior to the first lawful start date.
What do the colors mean?
PA law follows the Common Ground Alliance Best Practices for Temporary Marking (ANSI standard Z535). White, proposed excavation; Pink, temporary survey markings; Red, electric power lines, cables, conduits and lighting cables; Yellow, gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials; Orange, communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduits and traffic loops; Blue, potable water; Purple, reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines; and, Green, sanitary and storm sewer lines.
Do I have to call every 10 days if I am still working on the site?
If an excavator removes their equipment and vacates a work site for more than two (2) business days, the excavator must notify the one call center again. It is the excavator's responsibility to maintain the marks. Marks that have been removed, moved or otherwise tampered with are never accurate and prove to be deadly.
What should I do if a utility company does not mark their lines?
You may begin digging after the 3 business days have expired if you exercise due care. But why would you chance it? PA One Call can notify the specific member facility owner again and let them know you are waiting for their immediate response. Remember, facility owners will only mark the lines they actually own. Some facility owners do not mark the service lines because they are owned by the property owner.
If I hit an unmarked line, will I be billed?
Each situation is different. There are many factors involved and it is impossible to give you an answer here. You may want to review Section 5 of Act 287 and ask yourself questions like "Did I give the three business day notice?", "Do I have the serial number as proof of my notification?", "Did I work prudently within the tolerance zone?". We suggest you contact your lawyer or insurance safety engineer to discuss your situation in detail.
What should I do if I smell gas?
If you smell gas, contact 9-1-1 and the local gas company. If you do not know the gas company's telephone number, call the local one call center. You will need to know the county and municipality you are located in order to report the incident. Review the Pipeline Safety Bulletin for instructions on how to react to a gas leak.
How do I contact my local utilities?
Customer Service numbers can be found on your bill or in the local telephone book for each utility in the area.
Why is there a $125 annual fee?
The annual fee is used to offset the operating costs of municipal participation. The fee covers an unlimited number of notifications in the calendar year.
Who is responsible for paying the annual fee?
Professional excavators, designers and other non-member facility owners are obligated by law to pay the annual fee.
Who is exempt from paying the annual fee?
Homeowners who work on their own residential property, a charitable organization with 501(c)3 designation, and/or any professional excavator or designer who is a member of a participating association.
What if I am a professional excavator or designer and a member of a participating association?
The participating association is tasked with verifying your membership. You must send your annual fee invoice to your association for verification, they will confirm your current membership status, and forward your invoice to us to waive.