Excavators - Know what's below

Prior to any excavation, demolition or digging, contact 811 to locate and mark underground utility lines.

Kentucky and Virginia laws require excavators to contact operators of underground utilities before performing any excavation work.

Follow these simple steps to be safe:

  1. Make a locate request. Once you have your outdoor project planned, call 8-1-1 or visit Kentucky 811 or Virginia 811 to submit a locate request. You must submit your request at least two full business days before any excavation work can begin (not including the day of the request). This will ensure sufficient time for operators of underground facilities to mark their lines. When you submit your request, 811 will issue a "locate request" to member utilities, including those who provide natural gas, electric, telephone, cable and/or water service.

If you are working in the KU service area

Kentucky Utilities is a member utility in certain parts of its service territory. In areas where KU is not a member utility of the 811 service, customers need to contact KU directly to request an underground electric line locate service. KU will perform this service at no additional charge.

If you are in one of the counties below, call 8-1-1 or visit Kentucky811.org.


If you are in a county not listed above, contact both KU and Kentucky 811.

  • Contact KU by calling 1-800-981-0600 and press 2-3-3 when the recording starts.
  • Contact Kentucky 811 by calling 8-1-1 or visiting Kentucky811.org
  1. Wait for a positive response. Operators of underground utilities will provide a ‘positive response’ regarding each locate request in the form of flags or markings around your excavation area or verification through a phone call, email, or online portal notification. They will also let you know if there are no underground lines in the area. This work is performed at no cost to you.
  2. Dig with care. Once you have confirmed a positive response, you can dig with care. Don’t assume underground lines run straight between marks –that’s why we have a ‘tolerance zone’ around the markings. The tolerance zone is the area equal to the width of the underground utility plus the area extending 24” on either side of the utility. When excavation is necessary within the tolerance zone, hand-dig or use non-intrusive means to avoid damage to the underground line.

Know the ground rules. Remember 811 before you dig.

Become an e-SMART worker.

Learn the steps to take to ensure you and everyone else remains safe around natural gas and electricity. Our e-SMART workers play an integral role in helping ensure LG&E customers continue to receive the reliable service they deserve.

Additional Resources

Proper procedures for digging

  • Mark your proposed dig area in white paint.
  • Call 811 two (2) working days before you dig.
  • Do not dig until all utilities are located and marked. Each utility has its own contract locator, meaning there will be multiple locators marking the approximate location of underground utility lines or notifying you if there are no underground utilities in the area. Do not assume all utilities have responded to your request. You are responsible for contacting non-member utilities. Also privately owned utilities will not be located. Here’s one general rule: if the utility runs from the street to the meter, it will be marked. If the utility is installed from the meter to another location on your property, it will not be marked.
  • Maintain your marks. If marks are faded or destroyed, or flags removed, call 811 for remark. Please note locate marks expire 21 days after the initial request date.
  • Determine the precise location of the marked utilities by hand digging. Use hand tools when digging within 24” on either side of the locate marks.
  • Each excavator on the project MUST have their own BUD number.
  • Be mindful of ignition sources when working around gas pipeline.
  • Always assume electric lines are energized.

What to do if you strike an underground utility line

  • In the event you discover or cause damage, STOP excavation activities immediately. Notify 811 and all affected utility operators. If the damage is to a gas pipeline, evacuate the area and dial 911.
  • Do not attempt to stop the flow of gas by bending, crimping or taping a damaged pipeline. Attempting to stop the flow of gas does not make the area safe.

Uniform Color Code

Myths and truths about underground utilities

Tolerance zones and hand dig areas

LG&E Professional Excavator Series Videos

Contact 811 Before You Dig

Llame 811 antes de excavar

Frequently Asked Questions

Tolerance Zone and Underground Assets

Color Codes and Markings

Excess Flow Valves and Markers

Photos/definitions of markings