What's buried underground

may surprise you.

There's a whole world that lives beneath our feet, with infrastructure moving
the supplies we need to run our homes, hospitals and businesses

From electrical and fiber optic lines to pipes carrying natural gas and water, it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep these underground assets safe.

When you call two business days before you lay a new foundation, install a fence or plant a tree, you are doing the right thing to protect yourself, your neighbors and our underground resources.

Damage to underground utilities can result in costly disruptions to essential services, require expensive repairs and cause serious injury or death. If you don’t call Texas811 and you hit an underground line, you are responsible for paying to fix the damage.

Here’s what you’ll find beneath the surface of your home or business property.


Most electrical lines in Texas are strung overhead along utility poles. Those are easy to spot and avoid.

However, there are plenty of electrical service lines running through underground conduits, usually 18 to 24 inches below the surface, but these lines run closer to the surface where they enter buildings or power traffic lights. While these lines are insulated, there’s a very real chance of electrocution should you hit one of these lines while digging.

Even if you’re just moving a shrub, call before you dig.

Oil & Gas

Natural gas heats our buildings, fires our stoves and fireplaces and generates electricity.

Petroleum products that run our cars and trucks travel across the state in underground pipelines.  Oil and gas pipelines, which lie an average of 16 inches below the surface, can be quite dangerous if hit, scratched or nicked.

That’s why you should call before you dig, at least two business days in advance.   


If you smell gas (a rotten egg smell), follow these safety guidelines;


Telecom refers to any of our communication services, including telephone land lines, internet service and cable TV. 

If you cut a telecom line, you not only inconvenience yourself, you are likely to cut off telephone, television and internet service to your neighbors, too.  Emergency communications to first responders and hospitals can be affected.

Telecom lines are frequently hit since they can be buried quite close to the surface.


Don’t be the guy who’s responsible for your whole street’s television service going out during the playoff games.


Call before you dig.

Water & Sewer

Water and sewer lines may sound like the least problematic of all the underground utilities.


However, a broken water pipe can mean costly repairs, significant inconvenience and wasted resources during a time of drought.

Contamination from a broken sewer pipe is not only smelly but dangerous. That’s because sewer lines and natural gas lines often run close together. When a sewer line is being cleared, you should monitor the area for any unusual signs, such as:


To save water and avoid sewage contamination, think ahead and call before you dig.

• Hissing sounds

• Natural gas odor

(rotten egg smell)

• Blowing dirt

• Bubbling water

(which could be seen in places with standing water such as a toilet or puddle)