Iowa's One Call Law

IUB Reminds Iowans to Always Call 811 Before You Dig

To avoid a potential accident caused by excavation, have the location of all underground utility lines marked before excavating by hand or with equipment. To comply with Iowa Code chapter 480, Underground Facilities Information and begin the locating and marking process, a person must contact Iowa One Call at 811 or 800.292.8989 a minimum of two days (excluding Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays) before excavation commences. Iowa One Call is a free service. 

One Call Underground Locate Service, Damage Prevention, One Call Complaints and Violation Enforcement by the Attorney General

Many different kinds of utility services may be buried in the ground on your property. For your safety, Iowa law requires that you always call 800.292.8989 a minimum of two days (excluding Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays) in advance to schedule underground utility lines to be located and marked before initiating any digging or excavating project. The Office of the Attorney General enforces the One Call Law.

Learn how to file a One Call Complaint using the Attorney General's online complaint form and see more information on One Call Law enforcement through the Attorney General's Office.

Iowa One Call Damage Prevention video  

Call 811: It's the Law

Be safe and always call 811 before any digging project. The call is free and Iowa law requires everyone to locate underground utilities before digging. If an underground utility line is hit while digging, it can cause serious injuries, disrupt service to entire neighborhoods, and potentially result in fines and repair costs. 

After Iowa One Call is contacted, the following will happen.

  • Operators with underground facilities in the area where the excavation is planned are notified. This includes natural gas and power utilities, communications companies, and cities and towns.
  • Within 48 hours after being contacted, utilities either mark their underground facilities with color-coded paint marks or flags, or notify Iowa One Call it has no lines in the area.

If a contractor is performing the excavation work, a person should make sure that the contractor calls Iowa One Call two days (excluding Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays) prior to the commencement of excavating.

In the United States, the American Public Works Association (APWA) Uniform Color Codes for temporary marking of underground utilities are listed below:

RED electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables
ORANGE telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables, or conduit
YELLOW natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or other gaseous or flammable material
GREEN sewers and drain lines
BLUE drinking water
PURPLE reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines
WHITE proposed excavation limits or route
PINK temporary survey markings, unknown/unidentified facilities

IUB 2021 One Call Law and Damage Prevention Survey

IUB Safety and Engineering conducted a Process Assessment and Learning Aid Survey in fall 2021 regarding Iowa's One Call law. The survey was sent to excavators, operators, contractors, and other stakeholders as part of the IUB 2020 Damage Prevention Program and included 32 questions in seven areas. More than 240 responses were received. The survey results helped the IUB gain a better understanding of the reasons for noncompliance with Iowa's One Call law, which protects underground utility infrastructure, and the survey provided educational resources to excavators, contractors, locators, and stakeholders regarding Iowa's One Call process. Click the link below to view survey responses.

Survey Results: Iowa's One Call Process Assessment and Learning Aid (January 2022) 

More Information

News Release: IUB Supports Iowa's One Call Law (April 2021)
News release: IUB Reminds Iowans to Always Call 811 Before Digging (August 2021)
Informational Handout: Iowa's One Call Law (July 2022)

Off-site Links

Iowa One Call
Common Ground Iowa

For more information

Damage Prevention and One Call Contact 

IUB Safety and Engineering
Kevin Yearington, Manager

Media Inquiries 

Don Tormey
Director of Communications
Iowa Utilities Board

    Printed from the website on December 09, 2022 at 4:02am.