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Whatever you do, do it safe, but call at least two (2) working days to fourteen (14) calendar days before you dig. To find out more on 811, visit

Excavating? Call 811 Before You Begin

There are several reasons to make sure you call 811 before you begin an excavation project—safety risks and potential fines are at the top of the list, not to mention the possibility of losing your contractor license.

If you plan to disturb a ground surface—whether by digging, drilling, boring, etc.—you must contact either the northern or southern California regional notification center at least two (2) working days (but not more than 14 calendar days) before beginning your excavation project. The center will issue an inquiry identification number to the excavator as confirmation of the call, and an Underground Service Alert (USA) excavation ticket number, which is only valid for 28 days. Every general contractor, contractor, or subcontractor excavating at a job site must have his or her own USA identification (ticket) number for the excavation work he or she is performing. An excavation permit is not valid without the identification number.

The regional notification center call is free: 811 / 800.227.2600. If you fail to contact 811, your excavation will be considered unauthorized digging and you may be subject to as high as a $50,000 fine, held responsible for any repair costs, and potentially lose your contractor license. The regional notification center websites provide information about permit exemptions and other state laws and requirements. The northern California regional notification center ( serves the entire state of Nevada and the following California counties: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., excluding holidays.

The southern California Underground Service Alert ( center serves the following counties: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., excluding holidays.

  • Any operator or excavator who NEGLIGENTLY violates any portion of Government Code Sections 4216–4216.9 is subject to a fine not to exceed $10,000.
  • Any operator or excavator who KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY violates any portion of Government Code Sections 4216–4216.9 is subject to a fine not to exceed $50,000.
  • An excavator may also be subject to third party claims for damages arising from the excavation work.
  • Violation of Government Code Sections 4216–4216.9 could result in disciplinary action and possible revocation of your contractor license by the Contractors State License Board.    | previous    |    next