Pro Advice

Underground Service Alert: A safe way to dig

One of the benefits of working with AMM Fencing is that we’re serious about safety. Before we even lift a shovel, we safeguard you and your property by submitting a dig ticket to Underground Service Alert. Through this process, we ensure that our digging does not interfere with any underground utility lines, like those from PG&E. From day one, we are looking out for your welfare.

Paint indicates underground utility lines to be avoided during digging

What is Underground Service Alert (USA)?

Underground Service Alert (USA) is an organization that links California utility companies with those completing construction near buried lines. USA was created in 1976 and participation in this program is a law in California.

The good news is when you engage with AMM Fencing, we handle the USA process for you.

  1. We attach white flags to your old fence and/or use white paint (which washes away over time) to indicate where we will be digging.
  2. We submit a dig ticket through the USA North website. This request notifies utility companies – like energy, electricity, water, natural gas, and sanitation establishments – of our upcoming construction. The relevant utilities will then visit your property and use their own washable paint to indicate where underground lines are located relative to the proposed digging.
  3. We follow up with USA to make sure everything has been completed before we move forward.

This system keeps us from striking any underground lines while we are building your structure.

Underground Service Alert paint may appear on the street or the property near digging

What if a power line is discovered near the site?

AMM Fencing crews and foreman are trained to understand the markings from the utility companies and adjust their work accordingly. We may slightly modify the footprint of your fence, or we may alter our typical construction technique. For example, if a line is nearby, hand digging post holes is a safer option than using a mechanical auger.

What if I skip the USA process?

Homeowners who retain an unlicensed contractor who does not adhere to the USA system may have a major headache to contend with.

Utility lines are often buried just below the ground surface. Striking even a single line with a shovel can cause personal injury or outages to an entire neighborhood. Think gas leaks, power failures, fires, and flooding.

The cost to repair such damage will easily erase any savings realized by going with a non-professional.  

Now what?

When you hire AMM Fencing to build your fence or outdoor structure, we handle the USA process for you and guarantee a safe building experience for everyone. We oversee the administrative issues and the construction issues. And we leave you to do nothing but enjoy your new fenced property.

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