FAQ: Dig Safe & VT Underground Locators (VTUL)

Digging may seem like a straightforward task, but beneath the ground’s surface lies a complex network of public and private utilities that demand caution and adherence to regulations. In the realm of excavation, one of the fundamental players in ensuring safety is Dig Safe. At Vermont Underground Locators, we get many questions related to Dig Safe and public vs. private utility locating, so we decided to shed some light on some Dig Safe frequently asked questions, unraveling the intricacies that often go unnoticed.


1. What Legal Obligations Are Required Anytime You’re Digging Where Utilities May Lie?

Whether you’re a homeowner embarking on a backyard project or a contractor overseeing a construction site, it is essential to recognize that digging without notifying Dig Safe is not only risky but also illegal. Even if you’ve hired a private locator, Dig Safe must still be informed. This crucial step ensures that all necessary parties are aware of the impending excavation, reducing the risk of damage to underground utilities.

2. Public vs. Private Utility Lines: What’s The Difference Between The Two?

Dig Safe’s responsibility extends to marking public utilities only. For instance, when dealing with power lines, markings will be limited to the meter. Anything beyond the meter, including underground lines leading to structures like garages, sheds, or outdoor lighting, falls under the homeowners’ or contractors’ responsibility. To locate these secondary/private lines, a private locator like Vermont Underground Locators must be engaged. You can read more about Public vs. Private Locating Here

3. Do I Have to Notify My Utility Company Before Digging?

Upon Dig Safe issuing a service ticket, multiple utility companies may be notified in the process. This ensures that all relevant parties are aware of the excavation or utility marking plans. It is crucial for the person responsible for the project to confirm that a response has been received from all relevant utility companies connected to the project site. This collaboration helps clear the area and mark public lines accurately.

4. Are All Utility Companies or Towns Affiliated with Dig Safe?

It’s a common misconception that all utility companies or towns are affiliated with Dig Safe. Only businesses or towns affiliated with Dig Safe will be notified to respond to the location when a ticket is issued. This emphasizes the importance of verifying the affiliation of your local utility companies to guarantee a prompt and thorough response when needed. More than one company/locator may be responding to the ticket based upon who the utility companies have subcontracted to mark their underground utilities. Don’t assume that all has been cleared if you get notice of one utility. There may be more. A way to know is to listen to the Dig Safe representative when the ticket is being issued, they will inform you of the utilities that will be notified. You will get an email stating when each utility has been cleared or marked.

5. What Happens After I Contact Dig Safe to Start a Project?

Once Dig Safe responds to a ticket, the information provided is only valid for 30 days. If construction is delayed or extends beyond this period, it is the responsibility of the contractor or homeowner to reissue the ticket for a fresh round of utility marking. This ensures that the most accurate and up-to-date information is available throughout the entirety of the project.

6. Once Dig Safe Marks Utilities, Whose Responsibility is it to Maintain Ground Markings?

After the initial marking, the responsibility doesn’t end there. It falls on the shoulders of the contractor or homeowner to maintain the visibility of the marked lines. If the marks are disrupted or become indistinct, it is crucial to contact Dig Safe promptly for a re-marking to avoid any potential hazards.


Understanding and complying with Dig Safe regulations is paramount for the safety of individuals and the integrity of utility systems. By recognizing the legal obligations, distinctions in marking responsibilities, and the importance of timely notifications, we can collectively ensure that our digging endeavors are not only efficient but, more importantly, safe.

We’re here to help answer any of your Dig Safe & Ground Penetrating Radar questions, so give VTUL a call today at 802-863-7113 or contact us online