ID-10031340Excavator FAQs

Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions about safe digging. If you have a question or concern that’s not addressed below, please contact your Georgia 811 liaison. If you do not know who the liaison is for your region, click here.

What is the law pertaining to excavators and contractors?

By law, anyone planning any mechanized digging or excavating work in Georgia must notify Georgia 811 by phone, 811 or 1-800-282-7411 at least 48 hours (two business days) prior to the project’s start date. Excavators and contractors can enter digging notifications via our online locate request entry system, once trained. Georgia 811 accepts Monday thru Friday, excluding holidays, for normal locate requests. Damage and Emergency locate request may be called in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For a complete list of the legal holidays, click here. For locate requests made after 4:30 p.m. are considered the next business day.

After I submit my request, how long do I have to wait to excavate?

Once we receive your excavation request, our member owners/operators have 48 hours, or two business days, to mark their lines. By law, you may not perform any excavation work during this time.

Can I submit my excavation request online?

Yes! Excavators and contractors can access our Web-based locate request entry system, EDEN. You will be required to provide the same type and amount of information online as you would over the phone. Prior training is required to use the system. See available training sessions on our calendar.

What is positive response?

All underground facility owners are responsible for providing a positive response indicating that their lines have been marked OR that there are no underground lines within 15 feet of the proposed work site. You can access our Positive Response Information System (PRIS) by calling 1-888-670-2902, or by clicking here, 48 hours after you have made your locate request. Have your locate request number handy. It is recommended you make a final check on PRIS at noon of the legal date you were given to begin digging. This will ensure all lines have been marked.

What is the tolerance zone?

The tolerance, or buffer zone, is 18 inches (effective July 1st, 2014) on either side of the outer edge of the facility. Please try not dig within the tolerance zone. However, if you have to dig within the buffer zone, follow these guidelines:

• Do not use picks or mattocks.

• When using a shovel, keep face of blade parallel to and pointing away from the “flag line.”

• When using posthole diggers, keep the opening between blades pointing in the same direction as the utility lines.

• In hard compacted soils, pothole to the side of the locate marks and collapse the soil into the hole while digging towards the marks.


Here is a sample tolerance zone diagram:


Do I need to bring a record of my request (e.g. locate request number) to my job site?

While you are not required to have proof of notification compliance at your job site, we recommend you do so in case you hit a line or discover unmarked lines. If you need to call the Georgia 811 from the excavation site, your locate request number allows us to reference your location quickly. Also, in the event that a utility owner or law officer visits your job site, this information provides proof of your compliance with state law.

What if the staking, marking or other designations aren’t completed by the project start date?

Please make sure you have consulted the Positive Response Information System (PRIS) to ensure all member owner/operators have responded. Georgia 811 sends late notices to members who have not responded to the locate request in the designated time period. Those members have until noon on the day that work is due to commence to provide positive response. Call 811 or 1-800-282-7411 if you have any questions or concerns about the status of your locate request before you start digging.

What if my excavation work is delayed after lines are marked?

Your locate request will expire in 21 calendar days. If excavation continues past the 21 day period, your locate request will need to be renewed. You may renew your locate request two days prior to the expiration date. You should have received the expiration date and renewal date when you called in or entered your locate request. Changes to the Georgia Dig Law will take effect on July 1, 2016. Locate Requests created on and after July 1, 2016 will be valid for 30 calendar days. You may restake 3 business days prior to your expiration date. Refer to your locate request for the exact dates for restaking.

What if I accidentally hit a line while I am digging?

Call Georgia 811 to report the damage, even if utility services are not interrupted. Operators are available 24/7, 365 days a year to take emergency calls, 811 or 1-800-282-7411. If an underground utility containing a hazardous material is damaged and hazardous material is leaking, the contractor is required to notify 911 immediately regardless of the size of the facility.

Some of the marks at my excavation site have faded and several flags are missing. Can I get the lines re-marked?

Yes. Simply contact Georgia 811, dial 811 or 1-800-282-7411, and request that your lines be remarked. Once you call, you must cease all excavation work until the utility companies remark their lines.

Does Georgia 811 offer training for excavators and contractors?

Yes! Georgia 811 offers a number of training courses on the law, online locate request entry and many other subjects. Please see our calendar to register for available courses. In addition, Georgia 811 liaisons are available to provide onsite training and/or make presentations. If you do not know the Georgia 811 liaison in your area, click here.

Should I pre-mark my site?

The law is very specific about the concept of pre-marking or “white lining.” Please review the White Lining FAQs found in this section for clarification.