Excavator Instructions

Safe digging is everyone's responsibility. But when someone takes shortcuts, the results can be utility outages, heavy fines and repair costs, or worse. That's why it's so important (actually, it's law) to have buried utilities in your yard located and marked before you dig.

Prepare information for 811

Have the information below prepared before making the request:

  • Contact information including contact name, telephone numbers and email address.
  • County and city
  • Street address where you will be digging
  • Name of nearest intersecting street
  • Date and time digging is scheduled to begin
  • Number of days you'll be digging
  • Detailed description of where on property the digging will take place
  • Type of work being done (e.g. fence install, landscaping, irrigation install, etc.)
  • Type of equipment to be used
  • Special instructions

Call 811 or

When you have provided all information, you will get a ticket number. If you provide a valid email, we'll send you a copy. Review all information to make sure it's accurate and keep it for your records. 

Wait before digging

You must give a two full business days for utilities to be located and marked.


Verify utility response

The Positive Response System is a way for utilities to communicate with excavators using codes that represent marked, clear or unmarked and why. You're emailed a summary of responses, but you can also track the progress online or by calling (800) 852-8057. Although checking online will give you the most up-to-date information.

Where can I dig?

If utility marks run through your project area, you'll need to take precautions when digging. You may even want to consider moving your project. If not, treat the marks as approximate and remember that some lines are buried less than five inches. Each buried utility also has a 24-inch tolerance zone around its outer edge. The safest thing to do is hand dig to expose the utility to avoid damaging it with mechanized equipment. 

Extraordinary Circumstances

In some cases, a utility will declare Extraordinary Circumstances for conditions that make it impractical to fulfill their obligations within Chapter 556, F.S. When they do this, the system will provide positive response code, "3T Unmarked: Extraordinary circumstances (EC) per s.556.105(8)(a) exist; call utility owner/operator provider for this location. Excavation site is unmarked."

When a major storm is approaching, they may declare after you've requested your ticket. You can also check declarations on our Declarations Page.

Important: When a member responds with 3T Unmarked: Extraordinary Circumstances, wait two full business days before digging unless all utilities have responded. Some utilities continue to mark even though they have declared EC. Before digging, contact the member directly and use your own designating equipment.


Learn on the go

Check out our 811 process videos. Ten videos ranging from two to five minutes that quickly take you from preparing for 811 to safe digging. 

Important links

Low Impact Marking

Ticket Information

What do the colors mean?

Utilities are marked according to APWA Uniform Color Codes. The chart below shows which utility type each color represents.

Want more convenience?

If you request multiple tickets or want to request them after hours, Internet Ticket Entry is a good option for you. Click below for more information or to sign up for ITE.


Know the law

Sunshine 811 cannot interpret the law or determine liability for individual situations. It's best that you learn the law to make informed decisions. Click below to access.