Hitting a buried utility cable may cause property damage, injury or death. Sometimes these lines are buried at a shallow depth. What’s more, the law requires anyone planning to do any type of digging to have the utility lines at the site marked before beginning a job.

Before You Dig Checklist

Follow these four steps to dig safely.

  1. Contact MISS DIG at 811 or go to missdig811.org
    It’s fast, it’s free and it’s the law. Contacting MISS DIG before every job that involves excavating or hand digging is your first step toward finishing the job safely!

  2. Wait until the flags are placed
    Wait at least three business days after contacting MISS DIG for local utilities to locate and place flags over their underground lines.

  3. Expose utility lines by hand digging
    Do not make assumptions about the depth and location of utility lines. Dig by hand to expose the lines before using power equipment. Be sure to dig carefully. A sharp shovel can do a lot of unintentional damage.

  4. Respect the flags
    Leave the flags in place until your underground work is complete. You must begin digging within 14 days of the start date listed on the ticket. Make sure children and neighbors know not to remove the flags until the work is done. Avoid driving or parking heavy vehicles or storing construction materials over utility lines when possible.

Michigan Utility Flag Color Codes


Gas, oil, steam or petroleum

Communication systems

Potable water

Reclaimed water irrigation

Sewer and drain lines

Proposed excavation

Temporary surveying

Damage to Utility Lines

Every year, there are about 10,000 incidents of damage to underground utility lines in Michigan from digging. If you strike buried utilities, you could disrupt service to your home, business or your neighbors' property. You could be fined for the damages. More importantly, you could be putting your safety at risk. Access maps that identify the location of electric and natural gas lines on and around your construction site.

Request Maps  >