Digging safely

Tolerance zones

Include tolerance zones when digging. The tolerance zone is extra space around the identified underground utilities and provides additional safety when digging. Because tolerance zones differ from area to area, contact us with any questions.

Hand digging

Hand digging is the safest way to find out how deep underground utilities are buried. When hand digging, remember to:

  • Use a blunt-nosed shovel to loosen soil and a regular shovel to remove the dirt. Don’t use pointed shovels or other implements.
  • Dig at an angle so the shovel will be parallel to the underground utility.

Vacuum technology

Equipment like vacuum excavators can safely expose underground utilities. This technology uses suction and water pressure to remove soil around the utility. Be sure the vacuum excavator operator is properly trained to use the equipment.

Trenchless technology

For directional drilling, make sure the drill head is at least three feet away from any utility. Always calibrate the bore head and locating device before each job.