Frequently Asked Questions

The person who is doing the excavation or demolition work should be the one to 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

Those digging 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 ends 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, 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.

Pennsylvania One Call System does not mark the lines.

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)

You may begin digging after the 3 business days have expired if you exercise due care. But why would you chance it?

If upon the initial arrival to your work site you discover an unmarked or incorrectly marked facility, you should contact the Pennsylvania One Call System and request to renotify the facility owner or facility owners. This is NOT a new ticket. 

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 you remove your equipment or vacate the work site for more than two (2) business days, you must notify Pennsylvania One Call System 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.

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.

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.

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.