Prepare to Dig

What you should know BEFORE you dig

Arizona law requires anyone who plans to dig in any way for any reason to contact Arizona 811 at least two full working days in advance (excluding weekends and state holidays) to have all underground utilities in the area located and marked.

Knowing the location of underground utilities before any type of digging is the simplest and most effective way to prevent serious injuries and reduce or eliminate damage to the utilities we all rely on every day. When a utility-location request precedes any type of digging, damage is avoided 99% of the time.

What is Arizona 811?

Arizona 811 (formerly known as Arizona Blue Stake) was established as a one-call notification system by underground facility owners, such as water, gas, electric, and telephone, to assist excavators in notifying underground facility owners prior to digging. This damage prevention service is provided free of charge to anyone planning to dig.

Know What's Below!  Call 811 or make an online ticket request using E-Stake.  Additional information about Arizona 811 can be found at

By participating in the Blue Stake program, you can:

  • Comply with state law - Arizona's Damage Prevention Laws, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Rules require all utility owners to clearly mark any utility that may conflict with any ground digging.
  • Avoid injuries - Incident damage to utilities can cause injury to anyone near the dig site.
  • Prevent costly damages and interruptions of facility services - clearly marking the utility before digging reduces potential interruption of utility services to customers.
  • Save time and money - Utility accidents can slow down construction schedules and can be costly to repair.
  • Avoid hazards - clearly identifying utility locations through the Blue Stake procedures allows construction activities to avoid potential hazards.
  • Eliminate construction delays - avoiding incidental utility damages keeps construction schedules on time, reducing noise, service interruptions, traffic congestion and annoyance to local neighbors.

Excavators' Responsibility

Call Arizona 811 or create an E-Stake ticket at least two full working days before you dig. Be prepared to provide the location of the excavation site, including address and cross streets. If you have legal descriptions of your job site (township, range, section and quarter section) please provide that as well. If possible, have your dig site marked with white paint. White paint helps the locators find your site (this is especially true in difficult to describe locate requests.)

Utility companies have two working days to respond to your Blue Stake request. Do not begin any excavation until all utilities have responded by either marking the excavation site or clearing the site (no conflict) by a telephone call. If any utility company fails to respond to your request, contact Arizona 811 and they will transmit another message requesting immediate response.

Immediately report any and all damages to any underground facility directly to the utility owner. All damages, including nicks in cables and dents in steel, can and will eventually cause the underground facility to fail.

Utility's Responsibility

Utility owners have two working days to respond to a Utility Marking request. The Blue Stake Agent will provide the marking due date to the requester at the time of the call. Utility companies are required to respond to every request received.

Utilities will mark only what they own and maintain; which means they will typically only mark to their meter. Anything beyond the meter is customer owned and maintained, and may not be marked by the utility company.

Utility companies are required to use the International Color Coding system for identifying underground lines.

Color Markings

Facility Type


Electric Power Distribution & Transmission

Safety Red

Gas Distribution and Transmission, Oil Product Distribution and Transmission; Dangerous Materials, Product Lines

High Visibility Safety Yellow

Telephone and Telegraph System; Cable Television Safety

Alert Orange

Fiber Optics Communication Lines (The Letter "F" in Safety)

Alert Orange

Water Systems; Slurry Pipelines Safety

Precaution Blue

Sanitary Sewer Systems

Safety Green

Reclaimed or Non-potable Water