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Excavator Glossary


The national call before you dig number. Since calls made to 811 are automatically routed to the nearest one call center, excavators and contractors can also call 811 to request that lines be marked.

10-Day Window

If an excavator postpones a project’s start date by less than 10 working days, the excavator does not need to contact New York 811. If more than 10 working days have elapsed since lines were marked, however, a new locate request must be submitted.

Automated Positive response, APR or TicketCheck®

Communication with the excavator prior to excavation to ensure that all contacted (typically via the notification centers) owner/operators have located their underground facilities and have appropriately marked any potential conflicts with the areas of planned excavation.

Code Rule 753

Enforced by the Public Service Commission, New York State Code Rule 753 (also referred to as Part 753, Industrial Code 53 or Code 53) addresses the protection of underground facilities. The code includes the following major components:

  1. All owners of underground facilities must be members of one of the two one call centers in the state (New York 811 and UDIG NY).
  2. All New York contractors excavating on commercial or residential property must notify their local one call center two working days prior to the project’s excavation date.

Code Rule 753 also includes detailed information on fines, the tolerance zone, personal property and line marking color codes. Professional excavators are expected to know and obey this code.

Color Codes

When utility company representatives mark a location, they use different colored flags and/or paint to identify the type of underground service. Click here to view a color code chart.


Any destruction of an underground facility or its protective coating that requires repair work. If damage occurs, stop excavation operations immediately and contact the appropriate utility company (if known) as well as New York 811, even if damage appears minor. If a substance starts releasing into the air, such as natural gas, call 9-1-1. For your safety, walk away immediately and take steps to clear the area. Don’t try to repair or stop a leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark, such as a cell phone.

Damage Prevention

An initiative to prevent damage to underground utility lines or facilities caused by unsafe digging.

Damage Prevention Liaison

An individual charged with promoting safe digging throughout our region. New York 811 features two liaisons on staff. To learn more about requesting a free damage prevention seminar for your group or organization, click here.


The total or partial wrecking, razing, rending, moving or removal of any structure. Excavators must request a pre-demolition conference with all member operators who have underground facilities at or near the demolition area at least seven working days before their project’s start date.


Any operation that involves moving or removing earth, rock or other materials via mechanized equipment or by blasting. Examples include digging, auguring, back-filling, drilling, grading, jack hammering, tree root removal, trenching, tunneling and boring.


Any person involved in a trade or business that includes excavation or demolition work.

Hand Dug Test Holes

Excavations performed via handheld tools for designating, testing or verification purposes.


An underground or submerged pipe, or conductor used to provide electric or communications service; or used to provide gas, oil or oil product, sewage, storm drainage, water, or other liquid service. Many utility company facilities are located underground–out of sight.


A real-time, Web-based ticket-entry system for excavators, contractors and utility companies. Through this easy-to-use system, users can input, manage and update their tickets, all from the convenience of their personal computer. Prior training is required to use this system. To sign up for ITIC or learn more, call 811.

Locate Request

A request submitted by a contractor, excavator or homeowner to mark underground utility lines in the area they plan to dig.

Mark Out

The process of marking underground utility lines with paint or flags. The term “mark outs” is also used to refer to the actual paint lines or flags on a property (i.e. “There were three mark outs on the property.”)


By law, companies that own or operate underground utility lines must join one of the two one call centers in the state of New York. New York 811’s member network includes “participating members,” which are utility companies (e.g. water, sewer, telecommunications, natural gas), municipalities and others with a stake in protecting New York’s underground infrastructure. “Sustaining members” do not own underground facilities but have an interest in damage prevention. To view New York 811’s member list, click here.

New York 811

A nonprofit organization that acts as a communications link between utility companies and individuals planning any digging activity in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. While New York 811 does not physically mark utility lines or underground facilities, we do relay digging and excavation requests to our extensive member network.


Official information provided by an excavator to New York 811 concerning a planned excavation or demolition. A notice includes the name, address and telephone number of the excavator or excavation company; name of the field contact person; worksite address; extent and dimensions of the planned work area, means of excavation or demolition and whether or not explosives are to be used; and project start date.

Notification Center

Acts as a communications link between utility companies and individuals planning any digging activity. After receiving a locate request from a homeowner, contractor or excavator, call center operators notify affected utilities to visit the work site and mark the locations of buried utility lines with paint or flags. New York 811 is a one call center.


Any person who operates an underground facility that provides the following services or materials: electricity, steam, sewage removal, water, telephone or telegraph communications, gases, cable television, traffic control systems and liquid petroleum products.

Positive Response

All facility owners are responsible for providing a positive response to excavators indicating that their lines have been marked OR that there are no underground lines within 15 feet of the proposed work site.


An official notification of your request that New York 811 sends to all member utilities with lines in your area.

Tolerance Zone

A buffer that extends one half of the utility line’s known diameter plus two feet on either side of the center line. If the diameter of the underground facility is not known, the tolerance zone is two feet on either side of the designated center line. Hand tools are required when working in the tolerance zone until the exact facility location is verified. Click here for a helpful diagram.

Underground facility

Many utility company facilities are located underground and out of sight. These facilities may include electric, natural gas, steam, telecommunications, water, sewer and oil lines. To avoid dangerous and costly damage to these lines, it’s important that you contact New York 811 before conducting mechanized excavation work.

Warning Letter

A written letter from the Department of Public Service to an excavator or contractor informing him or her of an alleged violation of Code Rule 753 and asking him or her to correct the violation or be subject to enforcement.

Work Area

The area of the ground or equivalent surface that will be disturbed, removed or affected by excavation or demolition work.

Working Days

Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. By law, excavators and contractors MUST contact New York 811 at least two working days but no more than 10 working days before beginning any excavation project.

New York 811

Non-Compliance Reporting Form

If you witness an alleged Code 753 violation, please fill in as much information as possible and submit to New York 811. Upon submission, New York 811 will forward your allegation to the NYS PSC. Additionally, New York 811 will forward this Non-Compliance Form to the Company committing the alleged infraction (less your contact information).

Tolerance Diagram