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Damage Prevention and Underground Facilities Protection

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs performs random, unscheduled inspections of excavation work performed on private property.  Failure to follow the steps listed below can result in Class III to Class I civil penalties ranging from $500 to $2000 per violation pursuant to 12 DCMR §§ 115 and 105.1, along with issuance of Stop Work Order pursuant to 12 DCMR § 114.

Private properties may have lines and pipes running underground on the front, back or both sides of the property, depending on how the utilities and/or underground facilities have been installed and/or the geographical location of the excavation.  As a homeowner or contractor working on private property, it is very important to know the required steps and laws governing excavation activities.

The following steps will help you to excavate or dig safely without violating the local laws:

  1. Call Miss Utility at 811 or 1(800) 257-7777 at least 48 Hours prior to excavation to obtain a ticket. Miss Utility will issue a ticket and site inspection will take place by an associated locator service for the purpose of marking the underground utility services.
  2. Before calling Miss Utility, be ready to provide information, such as proposed work site, time of excavation, time to complete the job and type of work to be done.
  3. Obtain the appropriate permits required to excavate from concerned agencies: the District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, when excavating on private property; the District Department of Transportation when excavating on public space; and the District Department of Energy and Environment, if necessary.

To report illegal construction, call the Illegal Construction Unit, at (202) 442-STOP (7867) or call 311 during non-business hours.

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