Earth Day & Arbor Day Safe Digging Tips

Planting a tree in celebration? Find out when your 811 tickets are due so you can dig safely and legally


TEMPE, ARIZ. – Earth Day 2015 is Wednesday, April 22.  Arbor Day 2015 is Friday, April 24. If your plans include planting a tree to mark these special occasions, be sure to contact Arizona 811 first so underground utilities can be located.

Anyone who digs for any reason is required by Arizona law to contact Arizona 811 at least two full working days in advance so underground utilities are located and marked. It’s easy and it’s free: Call the simple three-digit number, 811, between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, or go to and use E-Stake – Arizona 811’s free online tool available at any time.

“We encourage homeowners or contractors working at one residential address to create their 811 tickets online using the Single Address Ticket Request feature of our E-Stake system,” said Executive Director Sandra Holmes. “It’s available 24/7, so you can create your ticket when it’s convenient for you without waiting for our Call Center to be open.”

Striking utilities is dangerous and costly. Life-threatening injuries are always a risk, and there are financial implications including fines and repair costs; reimbursing business customers for losses incurred during service interruptions; and even lawsuits. When a utility-location request precedes digging, however, damage is avoided 99 percent of the time.




  1.  Contact Arizona 811 at least two full working days in advance. Your ticket will be valid for 15 working day


  1. If you plan to dig on Earth Day, your request is due by this Friday, April 17! Don’t delay. Because it’s a busy time of year, you’re advised to contact Arizona 811 as soon as possible this week.


  1. If you plan to dig on Arbor Day, your request is due by Tuesday, April 21! Again, because tickets are valid for 15 working days, it’s not too soon to contact Arizona 811 so all utilities are marked in time for tree-planting even


  1. Mark out your dig site in white pain Do not use any color other than white to mark out your dig site.


  1. Provide physical access to your dig site. Unlock gates, provide gate codes and be sure dogs or other pets are removed and safely contained until all utilities are marked.


  1. Make sure 100 percent of the utilities listed on your ticket have responded. DO NOT DIG until everyone included on the ticket has responded by marking their facilities or informing you they don’t have lines, pipes or cables in conflict with the dig site you identified. If you do not receive all responses, call 811 for assistance.


  1. You must dig with hand tools only within two feet of marked utilities – no backhoes, excavators, bobcats or other equipment! Even when using hand tools, use extreme caution. If you expose a utility, you must support and protect it for the duration of your projec


  1. If you accidentally hit a buried utility, stop digging and immediately call the owner/operator of the facility you struck.  If warranted, call 911 from a safe location.


  1. Know the code. Utilities will be marked with paint or flags in colors that correspond to utility type in accordance with the Uniform Color Code for Marking Utilities:


Color Code      Markings

These marks show the locations of the water main line, sewer line, electric lines and communications/cable TV lines at a dig site in Phoenix.




Arizona 811 is again sponsoring and participating in the City of Tempe Arbor Day 5K benefiting Trees for Tempe, Friday April 24, 2015, at Kiwanis Park. The event includes an expo and tree-planting ceremony. Arizona 811 is working with the city to ensure utility location requests are submitted in advance so trees are planted safely and legally at the ceremony.


To learn more about Arizona 811 and the importance of safe digging, go to



About Arizona 811

Arizona 811 (formerly Arizona Blue Stake, Inc.) was established in 1974 as the non-profit communication center to facilitate pre-excavation/digging notification services and provide stakeholder education to prevent injuries and damage to  underground  utilities  in  accordance  with  statutory  requirements.  Arizona  811  services  are  free  and  available statewide.   Check out our NEW web site: