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Yes. You should call no matter how deep you are digging, since many cables and pipes lie at extremely shallow depths. Utah law defines “excavation” as “an operation in which earth, rock, or other material on or below the ground is moved or displaced by tools, equipment, or explosives.” The law specifies to contact Blue Stakes before excavating.
Homeowners and contractors digging at a single address can submit a new locate request or revise an existing locate request online here.
Contractors that create many tickets can be trained to submit locate requests using our free software 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are many advantages to submitting requests this way. Click here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We currently do not accept requests by email and we no longer accept requests by fax.
Utility owners follow the APWA (American Public Works Association) standard to mark the locations of their underground facilities. The following colors are used:
After the markings have been made, excavators should maintain a minimum clearance of 24 inches between a marked and unexposed underground facility and the cutting edge or point of any power-operated or earth moving equipment. If excavation is required within 24 inches horizontally of any marking, the excavation should be performed with extreme care utilizing hand tools or vacuum excavation techniques.
It is the excavator’s responsibility to respect and protect the markings. If the markings have faded or been destroyed by weather or construction, the excavator should contact Blue Stakes and request to have the area marked again. Member utility companies are then required to re-mark the area within two business days.
Utah law requires utility owners to mark only the lines that they own and maintain. This usually means up to the meter. Underground lines that extend beyond the meter or that are not connected to a meter are typically not installed or owned by a utility company and therefore may not be marked. These include water and sewer laterals, power to a detached garage or lamppost, sprinklerirrigation systems, lines connected to a propane tank or septic system, etc.
Almost every job site will include some type of privately-owned underground pipe or cable. The excavator should inspect the property carefully and ask the property owner about private underground lines before digging. The excavator should consider hiring a private locator to mark private lines that could be in conflict with the excavation project. Areas where private lines are especially common include apartment complexes, mobile home parks, gated subdivisions, cabin communities, schools and universities, hospital complexes, industrial areas, government facilities and military installations.
Locating companies that can be hired to mark private lines:
- Earthview Technology – 801-446-3004
- ELM Locating – 801-440-8979
- Magic Valley Locates – 203-358-2351
- Online Utility Locating – 801-446-2772
- Right Side Locating LLC – 801-637-4078
- Rough Country Locating LLC – 801-598-4265
- Stake Center Locating – 801-364-1063
- Utility Mapping Services Inc – 801-501-7388
NOTE: The following entities do not participate with Blue Stakes. If you need to dig on property owned or controlled by one of these entities, please contact that entity directly in addition to contacting Blue Stakes.
- Union Pacific Railroad – “Call Before You Dig!” Hotline – 800-336-9193
- Utah Transit Authority – UTA Control Center – 801-352-6701
- Hill Air Force Base – Red Stake – 801-777-1995
- Navajo Tribal Utility Authority – (for Navajo Nation lands) – 800-528-5011
Blue Stakes recommends that excavators perform a thorough visual inspection of the entire dig site area to determine if all underground utility facilities have been located prior to beginning excavation. Excavators should keep notes to make sure that each utility owner was notified and has responded. If an excavator suspects the presence of unmarked facilities, he should contact the Blue Stakes Center or the utility owner directly and ask that the unmarked utilities be marked immediately.
Contact Blue Stakes and they will provide a list of the member utility companies notified. You must have your Location Request Assignment (LRA) number to obtain this information. Remember that not all utility owners participate with Blue Stakes.
9. How much notice should I give Blue Stakes before starting to dig? How long will I be legally covered to dig?
Utah Law requires two full business days’ notice before excavation begins to allow the utility companies time to mark their lines. This does not include weekends or holidays observed by Blue Stakes. In emergency situations, member utilities will attempt to respond as soon as possible but preferably within 2 hours.
A locate request expires 14 calendar days after the time it was created. If you need to dig beyond the expiration date, you must contact Blue Stakes again two business days before the expiration date to update your request. Utility personnel will visit the dig site again and provide fresh markings if needed.
NOTE: If you have the needed information, you can create a locate request online here.
The following questions will be asked by the Blue Stakes operator. Questions to which an answer is required are marked with an (R).
- (R) What is the name, phone number, and mailing address. of the party calling in the request?
The party who will be actually conducting the excavation must contact Blue Stakes as part of their legal responsibilities — no party (such as a general contractor or homeowner) can assume responsibility or call in a request for the excavator. If more than one excavator will dig at the site, they must each create their own locate request.
- (R) What is your name and best contact number?
This allows the utilities to contact you if they have questions or problems marking the area. In addition, you can supply a field contact if you would like the utilities to contact someone else (e.g. a site foreman)
- Who is the work being done for?
The utilities have asked us to provide this information.
- Do you have a fax number or e-mail address?
Some utility companies may have lines in the area, but not directly where you plan to excavate. Listing a fax number or email address provides a convenient way for them to notify you that their lines are not in conflict with your proposed excavation.
- (R) What type of work will you be doing?
Specify the purpose of your excavation — such as sprinklers, fence, irrigation, etc., rather than the type of excavation, i.e. trenching, backhoe, post-hole, etc.
- (R) Will you be using directional boring or trenchless excavation techniques?
This is any type of excavation that goes horizontally underground without disturbing the surface.
- (R) What county and city will the excavation take place in?
If the excavation is not within any city limits, please state how many miles and in what direction the site is from the nearest incorporated city or town.
- (R) What is the address of the dig site?
We require one of the following:
(a) A posted address, or directions from the nearest posted address.
(b) A posted intersection, or directions from the nearest posted intersection.
(c) A highway and mile post marker, freeway and exit number, or directions from one of these.
(d) Latitude longitude coordinates and the corresponding Township & Range Section number (only accepted for rural areas).In Salt Lake county, we also require a grid coordinate for any address (e.g. Redwood Rd = 1700 W).
- Is there a subdivision name or lot number?
If you have this information, it may help the utilities find the location. We will not accept a lot number as the only address, except for rare subdivisions that do not use regular addresses.
- Which side of the street is the property on?
This helps the locators to find the site. Please give absolute directions such as north, south, east, or west. If you are on a corner lot, please state either the NW, NE, SW, or SE corner.
- (R) Which part of the lot would you like marked?
Please state the area you are going to be excavating in, rather than the area where you think the lines are located. For more information, see FAQ #18.
Provide correct address information and correct staking instructions
Listen carefully when the Blue Stakes Operator verifies the address and staking instructions
Provide valid contact information and respond to questions from utility personnel
Make sure the address is clearly posted. (See FAQ # 10 for acceptable addresses)
Provide open access to the property (gates unlocked, animals contained, etc.).
Write down and follow the dates and times when your request becomes legally active, when it expires, and when it must be updated.
Keep the reference number assigned to your request for at least the duration of the excavation and preferably longer for your records. The number is proof of your call to Blue Stakes and allows us to quickly find your request. A fee will be charged to research your request if this number is lost or misplaced.
Member utility companies will mark their lines at no cost. If you need the lines remarked as you continue excavating, they will be marked again at no charge.
However, if you request the same area to be marked multiple times and do not excavate, the utility companies can bill you for their costs to mark the area.
Utah Law specifies that if a utility line is damaged during excavation, the excavator should immediately inform the appropriate utility owner so the line can be repaired and immediately call 911 if the damage may result in an immediate risk to human life. Refer to your local phone book to contact a utility owner directly.
If the line was marked, refer to FAQ #3 to determine what kind of line it was. If the line was not marked, please do not call Blue Stakes to determine what kind of line it is. Our phone operators are not trained to identify them. If you do have the locate request assignment number (LRA), Blue Stakes can tell you which utilities were notified, but that does not necessarily mean the line belongs to one of them.
14. What do I do if I have an emergency situation during the hours the Blue Stakes Center is closed?
You must contact the appropriate utility companies individually and ask them to mark their lines. To look up the utility owners in your area, use the Utility Contact Information Lookup page.
The depth of utilities varies by location and by type of utility. An underground pipe or cable may no longer be at the same depth as when it was originally buried if grading, leveling, erosion or other nearby surface activity has taken place. For that reason, Utah law does not require utility owners to indicate the depth of their underground facilities. Utah law does not specify how deep utility lines must be buried. For more information, please see FAQ #1.
Coordinates can be provided from a GPS unit in NAD83 format to identify a rural area or other location that does not have an address. The location must be pre-marked in the field and the excavator must also provide the Township & Range section number and approximate distance from an address, intersection or highway mile marker. The excavator must be available to provide driving directions to a utility owner if requested.
Blue Stakes uses GIS data provided by the State of Utah’s Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) in its mapping system. AGRC compiles official map data from local government sources, including city, county, and state agency mapping departments. The coordinate system and datum used for all Blue Stakes map layers is unprojected latitude/longitude NAD83. To view AGRC’s base map viewer, click here. You can reference this map prior to contacting Blue Stakes if you need to determine the name of a road, find latitude/longitude coordinates for your dig site, etc.
Click here to open a PDF file showing an explanation of all of the ticket fields.
The following are explanations of important terms used by the Blue Stakes location center. Use these terms correctly to describe the area you need checked for utility lines:
Front: From the middle of the houseproperty forward to the curb.
Rear: From the middle of the houseproperty back to the rear property line.
Side: From the middle of the houseproperty out to the side property line.
Short: From the curb to the middle of the street.
Long: From curb to curb (edge of road to edge of road, not including the shoulder).
Both sides of the road: You must specify what part of the lot you want marked on both sides of the road. For example “Stake the fronts of the lots on both sides of the street.” This does not include any of the road. You must specify short or long to have the road staked.
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