California Law

View CA Government Code 4216

California State Law Says, You Must Contact DigAlert Before You Dig!

Failure to do so can result in fines up to fifty thousand dollars and you could be charged with the repair costs of damaged underground facility. Why risk it? Contact DigAlert before you dig and they will notify all of its members having underground facilities within the delineated area.


Important changes & highlights effective Jan 1st 2017

  • Delineation of the proposed excavation site is now mandatory. If the delineation could be misinterpreted as a traffic or pedestrian control, the excavator shall use pink markings and notify the center the delineation is in pink. (4216.2(a) & 4216 Definitions (d))
  • Members can, at their own discretion, choose not to locate and field mark until the area to be excavated has been delineated. (4216.2(a))
  • Contact DigAlert at least two (2) working days NOT including the date of notification (4216.2(b)) prior to digging.
  • Any temporary marking placed at the planned excavation location shall be clearly seen, functional, and considerate to surface aesthetics and the local community. An excavator shall check if any local ordinances apply to the placement of temporary markings. (4216.2(d))
  • Working day is defined as a weekday (M - F) from 7:00 am to 5 :00 pm, except for federal and state holidays as defined in Section 19853, or as otherwise posted on the Internet Web Site of the regional notification center. (4216 Definitions (v))
  • Excavations shall not begin until the excavator receives a response from all known members within the delineated boundaries. (4216.2(g))
  • If a ticket obtained by an excavator expires but work is ongoing, the excavator shall call into the regional notification center and get a new ticket and wait a minimum of two working days, not including the date of call in, before restarting excavation. All excavation shall cease during the waiting period.(4216.2(i))
  • An operator shall indicate with an "A" inside a circle the presence of any abandoned subsurface installations, if known, within the delineated area. The markings are to make an excavator aware that there are abandoned subsurface installations within that delineated work area.(4216.3(a)(1)(A)(iii)(C))
  • If the field marks are no longer reasonably visible, an excavator shall renotify the regional notification center with a request for remarks that can be for all or a portion of the excavation. Excavation shall cease in the area to be remarked. If the delineation markings are no longer reasonably visible, the excavator shall redelineate the area to be remarked. If remarks are requested, the operator shall have two working days, not including the date of request, to remark the subsurface installation. If the area to be remarked is not the full extent of the original excavation, the excavator shall delineate the portion to be remarked and provide a description of the area requested to be remarked on the ticket. The excavator shall provide a description for the area to be remarked that falls within the area of the original location request. (42216.3(b))
  • The Law requires you to hand expose to the point of no conflict 24" on either side of the underground facility, so you know its exact location before using power equipment. (4216.4(a)(1))
  • Your permit for digging will not be valid without a ticket number. (4216.9(a))
  • The California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board is hereby created under, and shall be assisted by the staff of, the Office of the State Fire Marshal. (4216.12(a))

Important changes effective Jan 1st 2018

  • Members may supply an electronic positive response through the regional notification center before the legal excavation start date and time. The regional notification center shall make those responses available to the excavator. (4216.3 (b))

Important changes effective July 1st 2018

  • The board shall investigate possible violations of this article. (4216.19(a))

View the New 2017 California Law, Government Code 4216

But I have an emergency and I need to dig now!

California law requires that you call two (2) working days, not including the date of notification, before your planned excavation. However, if you are digging because of an EMERGENCY, you are not required by law to call. You should still consider calling in order to prevent damaging any other underground lines near your EMERGENCY dig site. An EMERGENCY situation does not relieve you of financial responsibilities for damaging underground facilities.

However keep in mind that under 4216 Definitions (f)(1) states...

"Emergency" means a sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services.
(2) "Unexpected occurrence" includes, but is not limited to, a fire, flood, earthquake or other soil or geologic movement, riot, accident, damage to a subsurface installation requiring immediate repair, or sabotage.


Digging without a DigAlert is just simply dangerous, not to mention illegal!


You can damage a basic telephone cable and disrupt service to a home or you may cut a fiber optic cable carrying millions of calls and expose your company to costly repairs. Plus there is the real possibility of an explosion from hitting a gas line or an electrocution from an electric line! Not only is expensive equipment ruined, but lives are put at risk.