TEMPE, ARIZ. – National 811 Day is August 11 and Arizona 811 (formerly Arizona Blue Stake) is reminding everyone about the importance of “knowing what’s below” before digging.

Arizona law requires anyone who’s digging for any reason to have utilities located in advance. It’s free and easy: Call the simple, three-digit number 8-1-1 or create a utility-location request ticket online at at least two working days before your digging project begins.

“Contacting 811 before any type of excavation is the simplest and most effective way to prevent an accidental utility strike,” said Arizona 811 Executive Director Sandra Holmes. “Digging without having utilities marked is illegal in all 50 states, extremely dangerous and it puts the underground facilities we all rely on every day at risk for damage.”

Buried facilities include water and wastewater lines, electrical conduit, telecommunications lines, fiber optics and the pipelines that distribute natural and chemical gases, oil, gasoline and other liquid fuel products.

Tens of thousands of miles of underground lines, pipes and cables are buried across Arizona and, in many cases, were installed years before development occurred. Today, that complex network of infrastructure sets beneath our homes and schools, businesses and roadways, parks, open spaces, forests and farms. Utility depth is not guaranteed, which means they could be just a few inches or several feet under the surface.



1. Call 811 or go to at least two working days in advance

2. Mark out your proposed dig site with white paint or white flags; do not use any color other than white

3. Know the code: Utilities are marked in different colors based on their type in accordance with the Uniform Color Code for Utility Markings. Red is electricity; yellow is natural or liquid gases; orange is telecommunications and cable TV; blue is water; purple is reclaimed water; and green is sanitary sewer

4. Use only hand tools within two feet of marked facilities; even when hand-digging, use extreme caution

5. Utility depth is not guaranteed, so be mindful that facilities can be a few inches or several feet below

6. Never move or destroy utility-location marks

7. Never dig outside of your 811 ticket boundaries; if your dig site expands, call 811 to have the new area marked

8. If you accidentally strike a facility, stop digging and immediately call the utility owner/operator directly

I. Do not try to repair damages – leave that to the utility company professionals; and

I. Do not backfill and leave without reporting the strike: Even seemingly minor damage can have costly or catastrophic consequences later.


About Arizona 811

Arizona 811 (formerly Arizona Blue Stake) was established as a nonprofit communication center in 1974. Our Mission is to perform excavation notification services and stakeholder education that protects and promotes the welfare and safety of the community. Services are available statewide at no cost. Learn more at

Know what’s below. Call 811 or click before you dig.