For safety and to minimize disruptions to utility services, you need to call and have any utility lines that might be in the area of work marked. Doing so avoids damaging power lines or worse, injuring yourself. A representative from the utility that might be affected by your construction will mark the approximate location of their underground lines.

Why should you call before you dig?

  1. IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE! Many things lie buried beneath the ground. Power lines and gas lines are two of the most deadly.
  2. IT COULD SAVE YOUR PROPERTY! Fire or explosion from a damaged gas line, erosion from a broken water line, disease from a broken sewer line or simply the inconvenience of losing your phone or cable TV service due to a cut power line.
  3. IT COULD SAVE YOU MONEY! It doesn’t cost anything to call in a “locate request.” With one quick telephone call, all utilities in your area will be notified to come and mark the location of their lines. However, if you damage a utility line and did NOT call for a locate request, you may be liable for up to three times the actual amount of the damage. Some high-capacity telephone lines carry up to one million dollars per minute in calls!
  4. IT’S THE LAW According to RCW 19.122, anyone digging deeper than twelve inches must call for locates two business days before they dig. This holds true for private property, city, county, state or federal lands and railroad right of way. In addition to damages and civil penalties, anyone who ignores this law may also be subject to penalties from the Department of Labor and Industries.

I’m ready to call, what information do I need and who do I call?

Contractors working on local projects should call the “One Call” service at 1-800-424-5555 two days in advance for locate services. Individuals working on local projects should notify NVEC at (509) 634-4571. In both cases, someone should notify either “One Call” or NVEC with this list of pertinent information.

  • Job Location
  • City
  • County
  • Has the proposed dig site been outlined with white paint?
  • Foreman’s name and number
  • Nature of work
  • Permit number (if required)
  • Date and time work will begin
  • Company name, address and telephone (fax if available) doing the work
  • Caller name and number
  • Who is work being done for

NVEC works closely with the phone companies (US WEST, GTE, CenturyTel), the cable companies (TCI and Falcon), the Colville Tribe units (forestry, fire management, public works, Indian Housing authority), COE & USBR and all governmental groups to help provide our members with services wherever and whenever they need it.

Overhead Electrical Wiring Hazards

One of the most potentially hazardous electrical situations on construction sites is accidental contact with overhead or underground wiring. Protection from contact with overhead wiring is provided best by ISOLATION or distance. The covering on some overhead lines is weatherproofing; it is not intended to provide insulated protection from contact. This plastic coating may become brittle, making it easy to crack and fall off.

Operators of equipment like backhoes, dump trucks, bucket trucks, concrete pumpers, booms and cranes and installers of manufactured homes should be especially conscious of overhead wiring. The hazard of contact is also posed to workers on scaffolding or those handling and moving any type of long tools or equipment like sections of metal pipe.

Before you begin any construction or installation work within 10 feet of an overhead electrical line, you should check your state laws, regulations, guidelines and federal standards. These precautions should always be taken to help insure a safe work site. Please contact NVEC with any questions or concerns at (509) 634-4571

  • Contact Us


    (509) 634-4571

    PO Box 31
    1009 F Street
    Nespelem, WA 99155

    Monday-Thursday: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Friday-Sunday: Closed