Frequently Asked Questions

The person who is doing the excavation or demolition work should be the person who should notify the One Call System. This would be a:
  • A homeowner working on their own residential property
  • An excavator hired by the homeowner to work on their residential property
In regard to placing a notification with the Pennsylvania One Call System, it does not matter how deep you are digging, if you are digging with powered equipment the person operating the equipment must call. This includes paving, since powered equipment is being used and the earth is being disturbed, the utilities need to be aware so valve boxes and manholes are not paved over.

When placing notificatons with the Pennsylvania One Call System, either online or through the call center,  questions are asked to gather specific information which is transmitted to the facility owners. To make the process more efficient and ensure that all pertinent information is gathered, please review the Locate Request form

The Pennsylvania One Call System recommends that you placed a notification anytime you are excavating or disturbing the earth, or demolishing a structure. You are required to place a notification for excavation for when using powered equipment or explosives in the movement of earth, rock or other material. This does not include soft excavation technology such as vacuum, high pressure air or water, tilling of soil for agricultural purposes to a depth of less than eighteen inches, performing minor routine maintenance up to a depth of less than eighteen inches measured from the top of the edge of the cartway or the top of the outer edge of an improved shoulder, in addition to the performance of incidental de minimis excavation associated with the routine maintenance and the removal of sediment buildup, within the right-of-way of public roads or work up to a depth of twenty-four inches beneath the existing surface within the right-of-way of a State highway,

PA Act 287, as amended notes that a complex project is "an excavation that involves more work than properly can be described in a single locate request or any project designated as such by the excavator or facility owner as a consequence of its complexity or its potential to cause significant disruption to lines or facilities and the public, including excavations that require scheduling locates over an extended time frame." For work that fits the complex project definition, more than a 10 business day notice and should be submitted in Coordinate PA. 

For more information regarding complex projects, please review the Complex Project section in the Resource Library. 

Excavators are required to place a notification a minimum of  three (3) business days, but not more than ten (10) business days prior to the start of excavation. A business day is any day except Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday prescribed by statute in the law. A business day begins at 12:00:00 am and end at 11:59:59 pm.

A legal holiday may add one or more business days between the notification date and the date excavation will begin. 

State holidays are New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

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.

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.

Each 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.

The facility owner members will respond, and if involved, mark their lines no later than the day prior to the first lawful start date. If the facility owner is involved, their markings will follow the Common Ground Alliance Best Practices for Temporary Marking (ANSI standard Z535). 
If the facility owner does not mark the lines, Pennsylvania One Call System 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, which may not include the service lines because they are owned by the property owner.

Pennsylvania One Call System does not mark the lines.

No, they are required by law to mark the location of the underground lines they own and/or operate.
Legal Opinion from General Counsel

The ticket confirmation is your copy of the notification you placed with the Pennsylvania One Call System. The ticket confirmation is automatically sent to all callers who provided an email address and all web users. It includes the serial number, a copy of the ticket information, and the facility owners notified.

Please review the ticket confirmation to ensure that all information is correct. If you discover that the information is incorrect, please place a new notification online or contact the Pennsylvania One Call System at 1-800-242-1776. In addition to making sure that the information is correct, please confim that all the facility owners involved at the site were notified. 

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 preserve the marks. Marks that have been removed, moved or otherwise tampered with are never accurate and prove to be deadly.

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.

Excavators, designers and other non-member facility owners are obligated by law to pay the annual service fee which is generated with the first call placed during the calendar year.

Participating in one of the groups of professional associations that are members with us covers this annual fee on your behalf as a benefit of your membership with them. The list of participating associations is available on our website. Please forward this invoice to your association immediately in order for your account to be credited.

Homeowners who work on their own residential property or charitable organizations with 501(c)3 designation are exempt from the fee.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is charged with enforcing PA Act 287, as amended. 

If you observe excavation work and have reason to believe that a one call notification was not placed, you may contact the Pennsylvania One Call System at 1-800-242-1776 to place a No One Call notification. Pennsylvania One Call System will search its records for the worksite you describe to determine if a valid notification was placed. If none is found we will notify the utilities in the area of the excavation work.

​Additionally, any alleged violation should be reported to the PUC by completing an Alleged Violation Report.