Home Owner

Digging responsibly is the only way to dig. The impact of unsafe or careless digging practices is real and often costly – in terms of personal injury and damage to underground utility lines, property and the environment. What’s more, calling CBYD before you dig is the law in Connecticut.

What is CBYD?

CBYD (Call Before You Dig, Inc.) is a non-stock, non-profit organization comprised of all public utility companies and municipalities within Connecticut. Our free service provides homeowners and professional excavators with a toll free number (800-922-4455) for locating and marking of underground facilities by its members. CBYD serves as a message handling; notification service for underground facility owners, taking information about planned excavations and dispatching this information to potentially affected members. It is then the responsibility of facility owners to mark or identify their underground facilities at the excavation site.

  • CBYD neither owns nor locates any underground facilities
  • Voice notifications to CBYD are recorded for your protection as well as ours.
  • CBYD can not and does not translate conversations. CBYD notifications must be in the English language and the caller must be responsible and astute to answer questions that we may ask.

When do I call CBYD?

Anyone planning an outdoor project that requires digging with power or mechanized equipment must notify CBYD before they start digging. Issues related to proposed excavation depth, working on public property and project size are not valid legal exemptions from utilizing the CBYD service. When in doubt, call us. Additionally, CBYD strongly encourages anyone using hand tools for their project to notify us. Hand tools such as, axes, shovels, posthole diggers and the alike can easily damage underground utility pipes and cables as well as risking personal injury.

CBYD and Home projects

Here are just a few examples of home projects that would require notice to CBYD:

  • Decks Fences Trees or shrubs Mailbox posts Swing sets
  • Room additions Patios Gardens Landscaping Fountains
  • Swimming pools Tents Outdoor lighting Satellite dishes

Making the Call

Safe digging starts when you contact CBYD. According to state law, the person actually doing the digging is required to call CBYD with the locate request information. The caller must allow at least two full working days, excluding weekends and holidays in advance of the start of excavation.

  • CBYD Customer Service Representatives are here to assist you in processing your locate request. This may take some time. As such, refrain from calling Monday mornings, as it is the busiest part of the week. Also, avoid calling prior to our closing at 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
  • If you hire a company to perform excavation at or near your home, be certain they notify CBYD, not you! It is their responsibility under state law. A company who refuses to notify CBYD or requires you as the homeowner to call, should be avoided at all costs. This is an accident waiting to happen!

Please be prepared to provide the following information to the CBYD Customer Service Representative:

  • Your name, address and a phone number at which you can reached and an email address;
  • The name of the Town in which you intend to dig;
  • The street address along with the nearest intersecting street. If you do not have a street address, you must provide compass direction and footage from that intersection to the area where you will be working.
  • The type of work (please be specific as possible)

Provide specific remarks as to the location and work you are proposing to do. By law, you must pre-mark your work area with white paint; white tipped stakes or flags before you call us. The purpose of pre-marking is to assist the utility locators determine the scope of your work and identify their pipes or cables in an efficient manner;

The start date and time of the planned excavation;

At the end of the call, the CBYD Customer Service Representative will send you an email confirmation with the list of notified utilities and your ticket details.  Check the confirmation sheet in your email for accuracy, and if any errors are found, it is your responsibility to contact the center immediately.  On the confirmation sheet it will have a checklist of the utilities that were notified.  By doing this, you can quickly determine if all notified utilities have visited your job site within the two full working days or have contacted you indicating that there is no utility conflict.

Lastly, an eleven (11)-digit ticket number will be provided to you. Record and retain this number for future reference in the event you have question on a specific marking. Refer to the utility color code chart below to determine what the color marks mean.


There may be times when proposed excavation simply cannot wait due to an “emergency” situation. If this is the case, CBYD can help. The CBYD process was designed for “routine” calls in which the caller must allow at least two full working days, excluding weekends and holidays in advance of the start of excavation. However, a provision in the state law allows for an exemption, an “emergency.” What is an emergency?

  • An event involving danger to life, health, or property, or the interruption of operation of a major industrial plant, or to assure the continuity of public utility service.

If you notify CBYD and declare an emergency, the CBYD Customer Service Representative will ask you if you are aware of the state law (quoted above). CBYD makes no determination as to the validity of your emergency request. CBYD will process your locate request and notify the affected utility companies. However, since your request is an emergency and requires immediate attention, you as the caller, MUST notify each of the utility companies directly.

Why am I required to notify the utility companies if CBYD performs this task? Aside that it is the state law, CBYD contacts member utility companies via e-mail to various offices and departments. These emails are checked periodically for scheduling. Your call to them will immediately put them on notice as to your emergency request. Some utility companies may inquire as to the specific nature of your emergency request as this event does interrupt scheduled work. Utility companies will always comply with your emergency markout request, however, should your request be deemed as a “non-emergency”, you may be subject to a fine of up to $30,000. This fine is imposed by the State of Connecticut. Emergency requests are not taken lightly with CBYD utility members. You should not take an emergency lightly either.

  • Poor planning is not an excuse for an emergency. Examples are: install a swingset, a basketball hoop, outdoor lighting, an unexpected need to plant shrubs or trees, unexpected installation of swimming pools, dog fences, water sprinkler systems, reconditioning driveways to name a few.

After the Call

Keep the ticket number you receive from CBYD; it is your legal proof that you have called CBYD and complied with the state law.

You have 30 calendar days from your project’s notification date and time to begin your work. Should your project extend beyond 30 days, simply notify CBYD with your ticket number and re-new or update your ticket with us.

  • Contacting CBYD will not get private facilities marked. Examples of private facilities include an electric line to a detached garage or lamp, underground sprinkler systems, security systems, sewer or water laterals and walkway lights connected by underground cables. These are facilities that are owned by the person who owns the property and will not be marked by locators working for the utilities.

At the Dig Site

After the utility markings have been placed and your start date and time have passed, you may begin your project. But remember, you can’t excavate with power tools within 18 inches of the natural gas markings. If you need to dig closer to the marks, hand tools, such as shovels, may be used with caution.

If you expose an underground facility, it is your responsibility to inspect it before backfilling. If damage of any kind is discovered or suspected, you are required to notify the affected utility immediately.

After you are done with your project, it is your responsibility to remove any flags that have marked underground facilities.

  • If you don’t understand a marking made a utility company, DO NOT notify CBYD. Call the utility company directly.
  • If you come into contact with a utility pipe or cable, contact the utility company directly. Do not tamper with the pipe or cable or make any attempts to repair it yourself.
  • Utility paint markings will dissipate over time.
  • If you find paint marks or flags on your property and you did not notify CBYD, leave the marks or flags in place, as they are for a proposed excavation in your area.