Home & Work Safety

Outdoor Projects

Digging and Excavating

Contact your state's one-call utility notification service before you dig.
Contacting an electric line can shock or kill you and cause power outages. Contacting an underground gas pipe can create a potential fire or increase risk of explosion. Anytime you plan to disturb the earth, call 811 or your state's local one-call utility notification service (see below) at least 48 hours prior to the excavation, excluding weekends and holidays. MidAmerican locators will mark MidAmerican-owned underground gas and electric utility locations within 48 hours of your call. Seek the services of a qualified private contractor to locate customer-owned underground utilities (including pipes or wires that transport natural gas or electricity that has passed through a MidAmerican-owned meter).

Before using power-digging tools, hand dig.
The horizontal location of underground utilities will be marked, but their depth will not be. Any time you suspect unmarked hazards, hand dig the area carefully to test your suspicions. Backfill the soil gently to avoid damaging any utilities.

If you contact an underground utility:
  • Leave the area immediately and tell others to stay away.
  • Call 911 and the local utility company as quickly as possible.
  • Report even minor damage; what looks harmless can cause big trouble.

In Iowa, call 800-292-8989; in Illinois, 800-892-0123; in South Dakota, 800-781-7474; in Nebraska, 800-331-5666. Offices are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.