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Safe digging and 811 FAQ

How do I locate gas lines in my yard?

Call 811 or 800-922-1987, or request a locate online at


What information do I need before calling 811?

Be ready to provide the name, contact information, address, cross streets, type of project and excavation practices.


Is it against the law to dig without calling 811?

The law in Colorado requires that anyone excavating call the 811 utility-locate hotline before excavation begins to have all utilities located and marked.


What happens if I dig without calling in for locates?

You risk damaging a gas line and causing a life-threatening situation. You will also be responsible for the cost of repairs, lost time from any affected business and possibly a fine.


How much will requesting a locate from 811 cost me?

There is no cost to you, even the call is free. Whether you are a homeowner or a professional excavator, your call to 811 allows Black Hills Energy to locate and mark our underground facilities in the area in which you are digging.


Do I have to show where the proposed work will be?

A description of where you are digging is required on the locate ticket. Pre-marking the area in white is recommended.


When will I be able to dig?

You will receive an email from 811 letting you know that your locates have been completed and you are ready to dig.


How long are my locates good for?

Locates are good for up to 30 days, unless they are no longer visible.


What if the locates on my property are no longer visible?

Call 811 for a refresh. It’s a free call. Do not dig when locates are not visible.


How far down are gas lines buried?

Gas lines vary in depth, and can change over time due to weather, grading changes or construction. Always call 811 to locate your gas lines.


What do I do if I expose an unmarked gas line?

Call 811 right away so that the line can be identified and inspected.


Can you break a gas line with a shovel?

Yes, a gas line can be damaged with a variety of tools, and even a small ding to the coating of the line can be significant. Once your gas line has been located, you must hand dig within 18” of either side of the marked gas line.


How close to a gas line can I plant a tree?

You should try to avoid planting trees within five feet of the natural gas line. Tree roots pose a safety risk because they can damage the protective coating of underground pipeline, leading to corrosion and leaks.


Why didn’t all of the gas lines on my property get located?

In some cases, gas lines are privately owned and not owned and maintained by Black Hills Energy. We will locate all gas lines that are part of our system.


Can I dig on someone else’s locates?

No, you cannot dig on another parties locate ticket. Only the parties listed on the locate request can legally dig on those locates.


Who should I call if I see somebody digging without locates?

Contact Black Hills Energy at 888-890-5554.


I did not request locates, so why is someone locating the gas line on my property?

The gas line is likely located in a utility easement that is located on your property.


Do I have to be home for the Black Hills Energy locates?

No, you do not have to be home, so long as a Black Hills Energy locator will be able to access the property. Any animals on the property must be put away.


Will the paint harm my grass?

No, grass and dirt are not harmed by the paint and the paint marks can be easily removed.


What color paint marks will the gas locates be?

Gas locates are identified by yellow paint, markers or flags.