Iowa One Call - It's the Law

Before expanding that flower or vegetable garden or adding to your home landscape this spring, it's essential that first you make one phone call. Iowa One Call is a toll free number that enables homeowners to locate all utility lines on their property by calling 1-800-292-8989. No charge is incurred as fees from Iowa utility companies fund this service. Utility companies will mark the lines within two business days. Marking utility lines before digging has been a state law since 1993.

Iowa One Call averages between 30,000 to 40,000 calls per month from March to November. During the winter months, calls total around 10,000. The best time to call is during the noon hour, before 7AM, or after 5PM. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

It may initially sound like a hassle, but interruptions of service, injuries, repairs for damages, and possible legal problems can be avoided by getting the lines marked beforehand. Those who dig without having lines marked are liable for any damages their actions may cause. Use caution when digging close to the markings. Actual locations may be within 18 inches of the marks.

Be prepared to provide the following information before you call:

  • Your Name, Address, and Telephone Number
  • Nearest Intersection
  • County and Town/City
  • Township, Range, Section, _ Section (If applicable)
  • Type of Work and Depth
  • Extent of Work
  • Type of Equipment to be Used
  • Start Date and Time of Project
  • Best Time to Call Back AM/PM/After 5 PM
  • Contractor and Contractor's Address (If applicable)

Lines are marked with different colors by utility:

  • Red - electric
  • Yellow - gas, oil, or steam
  • Orange - communications, including cable television
  • Green - sewer
  • Blue - water
  • Pink - temporary survey markings
  • White - proposed excavation

This article originally appeared in the April 5, 2002 issue, p. 36.


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Yard and Garden, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on April 5, 2002. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.