Frequently Asked Questions For Professional Excavators

Illinois state law requires anyone planning an outdoor project that involves digging must notify JULIE at least two business days before putting a shovel in the ground. Click here to learn more about the Illinois Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act and be sure to bookmark the page.

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Do I really have to notify JULIE for every project?

Yes. Illinois state law requires that anyone planning an outdoor project that requires digging, regardless of the depth or the size of the project, must notify JULIE at least two business days before putting a shovel in the ground. Even if you have notified JULIE for a previous project in the same area, you must notify JULIE again (every project, every time). It’s a free service.

Keep yourself, your family and your community safe.  Homeowners often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call – even “small” projects like planting trees and shrubs.  Learn more about the process and common examples of DIY projects which require notification.

How do I notify JULIE for a locate request?

Simply call 8-1-1 or 800-892-0123 or choose one of our self-service, online options such as E-Request anytime.

What information do I need before notifying JULIE?

Locate Request Checklist:

  • Your name, address, and a phone number at which you can be reached.  An email address and a fax number, if available
  • The location where the excavation will take place, including county, city or unincorporated township, section and quarter section numbers if available, address, cross street (within 1/4 mile), subdivision name, etc.
  • Start date and time of planned excavation
  • Type and extent of excavation involved
  • Whether the dig area has been outlined with white paint, flags or stakes

Learn more about making the call here.

How much does it cost to use JULIE?

There is no cost.
The notification to JULIE and the locating services provided by our utility members are free to homeowners and professional excavators. JULIE personnel do not own or locate and mark any underground lines.

When is JULIE’s Call Center open to receive and process locate requests?

We are always open. Call center agents and self-service online options are available to receive and process locate requests 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Who marks the underground utility lines?

Member utility companies (NOT JULIE) mark their own lines. JULIE functions as a communications link between our member utility owners/operators and individuals planning to dig on their property or work site. We notify our members who are operating utility lines in the proposed digging area once we have received a locate request. Keep in mind that companies often hire locating services to mark the lines for them.

Is JULIE a utility company or government agency?

Based in Joliet, JULIE is a non-for-profit corporation dedicated to keeping Illinois safe and connected.  Our organization’s mission is to prevent damages to underground utilities, the environment and property, reduce service interruptions and costly repairs, and save lives. As an important reminder about our role in the process, JULIE does not own, locate and mark any underground utility lines.  Learn more about JULIE history.

Will JULIE’s Call Center Agents tell me the specific location or depth of the public utilities?

No. Our call center agents do not have information on the specific location or depth of underground lines.

What do the colors of the flags and markings mean?

JULIE member utility companies use the American Public Works Association (APWA) color code to place marks or flags on the ground to correspond to their utility type.  Learn what type of utility each color represents.

Can I dig after the 2 business day advance notice?

State law requires an excavator exercise due care at all times to protect underground utility lines.  After waiting the required 2 business days, if the excavator observes clear evidence that there is an unmarked utility line in the area of the proposed excavation, the excavator should not begin excavating until two (2) hours after an additional call is made to the Statewide One-Call Notice System (JULIE) for the area.  Learn more about what happens after the call.

Should I pre-mark the work site?

Yes. State law requires excavators to pre-mark the dig site when practical. If the excavation site cannot be clearly and adequately identified through the locate request, JULIE recommends that the excavator designate the route or area to be excavated using white paint, flags, stakes or a combination of these methods prior to contacting JULIE. Black may be used when snow is on the ground. Learn more about pre-marking here.

If I am the subcontractor on a job, do I have to get a locate request ticket or will the general contractor’s ticket protect me?

According to state law, the person doing the digging is required to notify JULIE with the locate request information at least two business days in advance of the start of the excavation, not the homeowner or company for whom the work is being done. The general contractor’s locate request only applies to its company. The general contractor should only request a locate if the general contractor itself is planning to dig at the site.

What are the excavator’s responsibilities while digging?

The excavator has an obligation to honor all time and marking requirements and then to dig in a reasonable and prudent manner, taking all reasonable and required precautions to avoid damaging underground lines. Always do a visual observation before digging. The law requires extra precaution, such as hand digging and/or vacuum excavation within 18 inches on either side of a marked underground line.  Learn more about the tolerance zone.

What do you do if markings are no longer visible?

If facility markings are becoming or have become indistinguishable due to factors such as weather, fading, construction traffic or vandalism, you can request that facility markings be refreshed by the utility owners.  Refresh Marks requests can only be submitted for excavation projects that were started within 14 calendar days of the initial locate requests.  Refresh Marks requests may be submitted via our online, self-service option know as REV or by calling 8-1-1 or 800-892-0123.

What happens if damage occurs to a utility line while I am digging?

First, if you have created a potentially dangerous situation (i.e., damaged gas line, etc.), evacuate the area and immediately call 911 and/or the proper emergency responders. State law requires the excavator to call both JULIE and the owner of the damaged utility line.  Learn more about damaged lines.

How long do I have to wait after calling in an emergency locate request?

An emergency locate request is processed immediately by the JULIE system. According to state law, excavators must wait at least two hours (or until the date and time requested on the notice, whichever is longer) before digging. If an earlier start time is needed, the excavator must demonstrate that site conditions warrant the earlier start time. If a member(s) does not respond within the required wait time, call the member company directly and/or JULIE again. JULIE will send another request to the member(s) not responding.

Are all underground line owners members of JULIE?

While all underground line owners and operators (except for the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Toll Authority and railroads) are required by state law to be members of JULIE, there may be some owners and operators who are not current members. Non-members can be reported to the Illinois Commerce Commission at 217-558-4010 (see Law & Enforcements).

What is JULIE’s extreme locate demand process?

The Extreme Locate Demand Management Process was been created for use by members starting in April, 2021.  The process provides an opportunity for an advisory notification to be given to excavators in those geographic areas of the state that may be experiencing significant, temporary increases in JULIE locate request activity.  However, under no circumstance will JULIE refuse a locate request from any excavator.  To learn more, click here.

What about Private Lines?

Operators of underground lines only locate the buried lines that they own, operate and/or maintain. They DO NOT locate private underground lines which are lines installed after the operator or their contractor have installed the basic service.  These lines are considered customer-owned or private lines, and it is the owner’s responsibility to cover the cost to protect private underground utilities. Examples of private lines include, but may not be limited to: sewer lines, private lighting, sprinklers, fire mains, secondary electric lines to detached garages, pools, and septic lines.  Learn more about Private Lines.

Where can I find more information about the state law and enforcement process?

To view the state law and learn about the enforcement process, click here. If you need more information or have any questions about the one-call process, please contact a Damage Prevention Manager.

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