Call Before You Dig

Well, it pays to stay on top of rules and regulations… and often that means avoiding liability by understanding your obligations as a property owner. Did you know that digging in your own yard could be hazardous to your pocket book? If you should dig into a utility line (gas, electric, etc.) you will most likely be held financially responsible if you did not call to have utilities “marked” prior to doing so… not to mention the possibility of bodily injury.

“Call Before You Dig” is a mandate in Oregon and other states requiring that utilities be located by the utility company prior to digging in your yard, garden, etc. This, of course, includes digging to install a real estate “for sale” sign too, and so is something to be aware of if you are putting your home on the market. If your agent uses a sign and post company, arrangements may be made with them for utilities to be marked in the general area where your sign will be placed. As the responsible homeowner, it would be a good idea for you to check with your agent regarding whether you or the sign company will be making these arrangements. The utility company will visit your property and actually spray the ground where you’d like the sign placed indicating the “OK” (or not) for digging. This will take an extra couple of days, so be sure to allow time in addition to the notice the sign company or installer will need prior to post & sign placement. More information may be found at:

Recently the process has been streamlined, and a number to call has been activated to make things easier (and safer) for everyone. Before digging, simply call “811” and you will be connected with the Utility Notification Center which administers the “One Call” system. The Utility Notification Center is open 24 hours a day, everyday. Homeowners, contractors, and anyone planning to dig may call.

Currently there is no charge for this service in most locations. The only areas under the authority of the Utility Notification Center that do have fees are Spokane and Stevens counties in Washington state… so here in Lake Oswego, it’s free!

Enjoy your summer… relish working in your garden, or proceed full steam ahead with the marketing of your home… just do it safely, and protect your health as well as your pocketbook.