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When anyone digs in Texas, whether planting a tree or digging the foundation of a skyscraper, there is a high probability of an underground utility line being within the dig site, according to the website www.texas811.org. “Hitting an underground utility line does more than interrupt utility service; it risks the safety of the person digging and the public,” the website reads.

There are laws that a homeowner needs to adhere to before digging on their land, even when planting a tree.

According to the website www.texas811.org, Texas law requires homeowners to contact 811 two business days (excluding weekends and holidays) before digging, even if you’re working in your own backyard. 

Homeowners should contact 811 when: building or repairing a fence, installing a sprinkler system, any chore or maintenance that requires digging, including planting a tree.

The website explains that more than 80 percent of no call damages involving hand tools damaged gas facilities.

According to the website, if you are hiring a contractor to do the work for you, it is the contractor’s responsibility to contact 811 two business days prior to digging. You may want to make sure your contractor has notified 811 before the work begins by requesting a ticket or notification number.

There are two ways to request to have your lines marked, including by phone at 811. You will need to listen to a recorded message. You can also use an online “Homeowner Portal,” which is a program that walks homeowners through the process step-by-step. The weblink is txhop.texas811.org.

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