Digging Safety

Know what's below. Call before 811 you dig.

Call Diggers Hotline® before starting your outdoor project!

All projects, no matter the size, could pose a threat to your safety or result in costly mistakes. Diggers Hotline works with MGE and other participating utilities to identify buried lines on your property so that you can dig freely and safely. 

Contact Diggers Hotline at least three full business days before you plan to dig, no matter the size of your project. It's not only smart, it's the law.

Diggers Hotline is a free service available 24/7:

Professional excavators

By working safely, you can help us maintain a safe, dependable energy delivery system for everyone in our community.

Before your project

  • Contact Diggers Hotline at least three working days BEFORE you start any excavation work to see where MGE facilities are when planning and carrying out your project, as required by Wisconsin Statute § 182.0175.
  • Review the markings before beginning your work. If it doesn't look right, call 811 and ask for a relocate. 
  • You are responsible for maintaining surface markings. If the markings are destroyed, call Diggers Hotline for a relocate.

During construction

  • Use hand excavation within 18 inches of a marked but unexposed natural gas line or electric cable. Keep equipment clear of exposed or aboveground facilities.
  • Inspect any exposed natural gas or electric pipes or cables for damage. If facilities may have been damaged, call MGE at 608-252-1111 or 1-800-245-1123, and we will inspect them promptly at no charge to you.
  • Providing a safe excavation as defined by OSHA will allow MGE to quickly inspect for damage and make repairs. If you don't, MGE must dig our own safe excavation and bill you for our costs.
  • OSHA requires safe working clearances from overhead electric facilities. Please call Adam Beyer at 608-252-1565 if you have questions.
  • If you excavate near critical gas facilities including gate stations, regulation stations, distribution lines operating above 60 psig, and electric manholes and duct packages, MGE will provide a representative on-site.
  • Remember to protect any visually exposed utilities from damage by keeping power-operated equipment at least 12 inches from the facility.
  • Questions? Please call John Blood at 608-252-7309.

If damage occurs

  • Stay clear and call MGE at 608-252-1111 to report the damage. Even minor damage can cause a big safety problem later.
  • If a gas line is damaged, leave the excavation open. If gas is blowing, immediately shut down excavating equipment and call 911 and MGE from a safe distance at 608-252-1111 or 1-800-245-1123. If the gas ignites or appears to be entering nearby buildings, call 911. Keep bystanders away until emergency and/or MGE personnel arrive at the scene.

Utility location markings

MGE will mark the location of underground facilities and indicate safe overhead line clearances. We will mark our lines with a combination of spray paint or chalk plus flags or stakes with attached ribbons. The markings—yellow for gas, red for electricity—include our initials for identification.

When excavation is complete, it is the duty of the Diggers Hotline ticket holder to remove the marking flags and stakes. At large worksites, it is the duty of the general contractor to remove flags and stakes.

Utility Location Color Code