Digging on Campus


An emergency excavation is sometimes necessary to respond to a situation that endangers life, health, or property, or when service to the customer will be interrupted. When an emergency locate is needed on the TAMU campus, both Texas 811 and the TAMU Communication Center (at 979-845-4311) must be contacted promptly with details of the emergency. The same information required on the Texas 811 Utility Locate Information Form (PDF) under normal conditions will also be required with an emergency.

The safety of students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors to the TAMU campus is our highest priority. To help ensure their safety, any person(s) responsible for digging or penetration of the ground anywhere on campus are responsible to comply with this procedure and to ensure that required locates have been performed as outlined below prior to commencing work.

University Utility Locate Procedure:

  • The locate requester is responsible to clearly mark the site perimeter to be excavated or penetrated, by using water-based white paint and/or white flags, prior to calling Texas 811.
  • If unfamiliar with the utility locate process, contact the Utilities & Energy Services Distribution Office at 979-845-3234 for additional guidance and support. For emergencies, contact the TAMU Communications Center (staffed 24/7/365) at 979-845-4311 for emergency response. Additional information can also be found at  www.texas811.org
  • Call 811 to request a utility locate. After clearly marking the site perimeter where locate will be performed, requester must have the Texas 811 Utility Locate Information Form (PDF) completed and available.
  • The utility locator(s) will mark buried lines with paint and/or flags within the marked excavation perimeter. Utility flag colors are red for electric, orange for telecom, yellow for fuel gas, green for sanitary sewer, and blue for all other water systems.
  • The requester shall not commence any digging, excavation or ground penetration for at least two full working days (48 hours excluding weekends and holidays) after the request is made.

To increase the level of safety, TAMU has a policy that is more strict than State law* and requires an advance locate be performed for 1) any ground penetration on campus, to any depth, when mechanized equipment such as augers, trenches, excavators, etc. will be used, and 2) for all ground penetrations to a depth greater than 12 inches. Hand-digging or soft excavation is required whenever any excavation is performed to a depth less than 12 inches without a utility locate. An advance utility locate is always required if the excavation will be deeper than 12 inches. In the case of ground penetration resulting from agricultural tilling or other recurring instructional or research-based agricultural work on the TAMU campus, an exception to the requirement to perform an advance utility locate will be made after an initial utility locate is performed to determine that the area to be tilled or worked is clear of underground utilities.

*State law requires that all persons performing work requiring digging or ground penetration to a depth of 16 inches or more are required to call 811 in advance and provide detailed information regarding planned work. by Texas Utilities Code, Title 5, Chapter 251 – Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety, a person who intends to excavate shall notify Texas 811 not earlier than the 14th day before the date the excavation is to begin or later than the 48th hour before the time the excavation is to begin, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. Failure to comply with the Texas Utilities Code could result in a fine up to $1000 for the first offense, in addition to other potential liabilities.

TAMU is a member of the Texas 811 utility locate program. TAMU owns and is directly responsible for performing locates for the following utility systems: electrical, domestic water, chilled and heating hot water, sanitary and storm sewer, TAMU-owned natural gas, irrigation, and TAMU-owned telecommunications. SSC Grounds Management has responsibility for maintenance of the TAMU-owned irrigation system which includes responsibility for utility locates. There are other utility systems not owned by TAMU, such as Atmos Energy’s natural gas distribution and other third-party systems such as telecom, water, electrical, etc. that must also be located by those third-party entities before digging or ground penetration on campus.