Before You Dig

Call 811 Before You Dig Logo

Request Before You Dig!

Prior to doing digging of any sort on your property, you must call to get “locates” of the various utilities that are underground. Failure to do this could lead to damage to an underground utility line, potential service outages, restoration costs, and physical injury or death.

The locate service is an ongoing service partnership between the City of Longmont and the Utility Notification Center of Colorado (Colorado 811).

Who Do I Call?

At least 2 business days (48 hours) before you plan to dig, make your locate request online with the Utility Notification Center of Colorado (Colorado 811). You can also make requests by calling 811 or (800) 922-1987.

When calling for locates, please have the following information ready:

  • Physical Address
  • Your name
  • Who the work is being done for (general contractor or project)
  • Type of work (landscaping, foundation, sprinkler system, etc.)
  • Extent of work (depth, specific location, etc.)
  • Access issues (i.e., dog in yard, locked gate, etc.)
  • Contact name and number

It is recommended that you use white paint to show the area where the digging will occur to help the locaters.

After I Call, Then What?

Within 2 business days, representatives from the various utilities will come to your property and mark the location of the underground lines with colored paint. (See below to see what utility each color represents.)

If access is an issue, such as a dog in the yard, locked gate, etc., the locater will respond by email to indicate that the locating work could not be completed and why; the customer must then call for a fresh locate when the condition has been addressed. 

Please be sure to allow at least 2 business days (48 hours) before any work is to be started.

Color & Line Guide

Red: Electric

Yellow: Gas

Orange: Communications (NextLight, Cable, Phone)

Blue: Water

Purple: Irrigation

Green: San

If your electric meter is not attached to the house, then your property contains private electric lines that run from the meter to the home. In addition, sewer, water, and storm drainage lines all have private components to them, typically from the curbstop to the house. In order to have these marked or flagged, you must hire a private locating company – these lines will not be marked by the utility. It is your responsibility to have this done before work begins.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is that flag in my yard?

It’s called a locate flag. It’s used to indicate where an underground utility line is, so that construction crews can avoid it while they work. Painted marks are also used – in fact, they’re required – but a flag helps keep the “locate” in place if snow covers the mark, or painted grass gets cut, or a painted rock gets moved.

A locating contractor working for the utility. By law, when underground work is being done in an area, the company doing the excavation has to call the Utility Notification Center and ask for “locates” to be marked. Every utility in that area then has to mark their lines. Each utility hires locators to do this work, whether the lines are owned by the City or by a private company such as Xcel or CenturyLink. Information about this process can also be found on the city’s “Before You Dig page.

The flags are placed in utility easements – areas where the utility has the right to enter for purposes of maintenance, repair, or other necessary work – so no notice is required. City-owned utilities will often give an advance notice as a courtesy.

Please leave them in place – they’re protecting your utility lines from harm. In addition, removing a locate flag that’s still in use is a misdemeanor under Colorado law

A locate flag is good for up to 30 days, after which it has to be re-authorized. Some utilities will remove the flags before then if the related project has been completed.

Call the Utility Notification Center of Colorado (UNC) at 1-800-922-1987. They can tell you how long a flag or marking has been out and whether it’s safe to remove them.

Yes, the paint is water soluble.

In addition to the identifying color, each locate flag will identify the specific utility that had it placed. Call that utility for any additional information or concerns about the flags and their placement.

A private line is a utility line on private property that is the responsibility of the property owner. Private lines should be marked by a privately-hired locating company. The City of Longmont does not maintain a list of private locating companies.

Have questions?

Give us a call and we’d be delighted to answer any questions you have.