FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

How soon can I dig once the locate request has been placed?

After all Facility Owners have cleared your ticket in Ticket Check®. It is very important to wait until the facility owners have responded to your request. Beginning work earlier can result in forfeiture of the excavator's rights and protection under Delaware and Maryland Statutes. Miss Utility of Delmarva Facility Owner Members will normally respond by the earliest work to begin date possible, usually two full working days in Delaware (48 hours from 7 a.m. of the next working day) or 48 hours in Maryland after you contact the Notification Center.

How long is a locate request valid?

A ticket remains valid if the described work begins within 10 working days after the call date and the work is continuous and the locate marks are still intact. It is the excavator's responsibility to protect the marks.   Large projects in Delaware require a mutually agreeable locate schedule with each facility operator.  A ticket becomes invalid if the work did not begin within 10 work days of the call date and time, or the work scope changes, or the locate marks are missing or disturbed in such a way as to cause doubt.

When should I request an update (remark)?

You may request Miss Utility of Delmarva to issue an update ticket after an original locate request ticket has been placed and one of the following conditions exists:

  • Work Scope Changes
  • Missing or disturbed locate markings.
  • Work did not begin within 10 days of call date

The original ticket number is required to obtain a remark. It will take two more working days in Delaware and 48 hours in Maryland for the remark request to be filled.

What about the depth of underground facilities?

Utility owners have no control over depth variation caused by human interference, weather, or other circumstances after the original installation. As a result, utilities will only mark the location, not the depth of buried facilities.

Why do utility locators say they can not locate private lines?

There are customer or private owned underground lines for a variety of reasons.  Often there was regulatory reason or an economic decision on the part of the customer that it was less expensive to have someone else other than the utility install the underground facility.  For example, excerpts from a public utility tariff reads “… underground services to serve … customers shall be installed, owned and maintained by the Customer. Upon the Customer's request, the Company may install the service at the Customer's expense.”  Thus it was up to the customer, not the utility as to who owns and operates the facility.  The property owner or builder typically hires a plumbing-contractor to install the property owner’s water and sewer servicesSome utilities have ‘Codes of Conduct’ that govern Regulated Utility Activities such as locating company lines and restricts unregulated activities such as locating non-company lines.  Electrical or Locating Contractors can locate customer or private owned underground lines. The Utility does not have the right or authority to maintain, including locate lines that are not owned or operated by them. Generally utilities do not maintain records of facilities that they do not own or operate, thus have no basis to provide an approximate locate.

How do I get underground facilities marked by underground facility operators or owners who are not members of USPCD (a.k.a. “Miss Utility of Delmarva”)?

USPCDsuggests contacting each property owner for identification of other buried facility owners and contact the facility owners directly to request their lines be marked. There also may be home-owners or property-owners facilities that are before or beyond the meter (i.e. electric, lighting, gas fuel line, irrigation systems, dog fences, etc.) that the owner would need provide locate information.  Home-owners are exempt from some aspects of the Stare Laws. In addition, private facility owners may not know they own underground lines or do not readily have the means to locate the underground lines they own.  OSHA 1926.651 states that when owners do not “…establish the exact location of these installations, the employer may proceed, provided the employer does so with caution, and provided detection equipment or other acceptable means to locate utility installations are used.” There are also locating contractors in the yellow pages of some phone books and the USPCD web site: http://www.missutilitydelmarva.com/.

What about fiberglass poles or existing marks that warn about underground facilities in the area?

Any fiberglass poles warning of underground facilities are not markings. They are only reminders to call to have the area marked. You should always contact the Notification Center to obtain your own marks and not rely on marks already in the field. Those marks will not be valid for your work.

I'm only digging a couple of inches; should I still call USPCD (Miss Utility of Delmarva)?

YES, you should! Anytime you alter the surface of the ground, it is considered excavation, this includes: driving pins, rods, and fence posts in the ground.  There are exceptions in Delaware for agriculture and some roadway patching, so refer to the Delaware Code.

Why should I call Miss Utility before every dig?

First and foremost, IT'S THE LAW!  Don't gamble with your safety — if you're a professional excavator or a homeowner, smart digging always requires a call to Miss Utility. Knowing where underground utility lines are buried before you dig will help protect you from injury and prevent damages to utilities, service disruptions and potential fines and repair costs. Whether you're planting a tree or shrub, or installing a deck or pool, every job requires a call—Even if you've called before for a similar project. The depth of utility lines varies, and there may be multiple utility lines in one common area. Marked lines show you the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences such as injury, service disruptions to an entire neighborhood, or costly fines and repair costs.

Do the colors of the paint and flags indicate anything in particular?

Yes. Each color indicates a universal color to what is buried below ground.

  • Red – Electric
  • Orange – Communications, Telephone/CATV
  • Blue – Potable Water
  • Green – Sewer/Drainage
  • Yellow – Gas/Petroleum Pipe Line
  • Purple – Reclaimed Water
  • White – Premark site of intended excavation
How much does it cost to use the Miss Utility service?

Miss Utility is a FREE service provided by the owner-member utility companies. Some municipalities and the Maryland Department of Transportation may charge to mark their utility lines; the Miss Utility customer service representative will notify you of these owner-members at the time of your call or Internet request.

Who visits my excavation site and marks the underground utilities?

The individual owner-members are responsible for marking their underground lines. Some owner-members contract the work to underground utility locating companies.

Why don’t owner-members and locators provide the depth of the underground facilities?

Owner-members have no control over depth variations caused by human interference, weather, or other circumstances after the original installation. As a result, locators will only mark the path of the underground utility lines, not the depth of them.