How to Avoid Utility Lines When Digging

Whether you’re a homeowner, or a sign installer such as ourselves, it’s important before any substantial dig to call 811. Why 811? 811 is a service that helps you know where public utility lines lie at or near your dig site, so that you can not only avoid headache or injury by striking one but you can also potentially avoid costly fixes and even legal battles. This is why it’s often referred to as the “one-call”, as it’s the one call you always need to make when breaking ground.

According to TN 811’s booklet: “Damage to underground utility lines can cause far reaching consequences, from serious injury and environmental damage to the loss of vital services we depend on every day. Preventing damage to these facilities is a responsibility shared by all stakeholders accomplished through various damage prevention measures.”

At Ortwein Sign we take this responsibility seriously, and before every dig we have included in our process a call to 811 to assess the dig site and utility lines present. Along with our proper initial code search, sign permits, and electrical permits, this is one more step we take so that you can have peace of mind with your sign installation.

For Tennessee residents, you can find the full text version of the law by logging onto the Tennessee 811 website at, or by accessing Tennessee’s mobile app TN811. For residents of other states, visit the national website.

A man digs the ground with a shovel” by Nenad Stojkovic is licensed under CC BY 2.0