North Dakota Living staff report

North Dakota One Call (NDOC) continues to serve as the underground facilities identification system intended to avert damage from excavation to those facilities. Such damages to underground facilities can disrupt vital utility service to consumers, and create public safety risks.


The One Call effort, which is nationwide, has taken hold because so many of the line facilities carrying utility services (telecom, electric, water) and pipelines for gas and oil, are buried.

“Our main message is ‘Click or Call Before You Dig,’ ” says Ryan Schmaltz, NDOC director of public relations. “Click or call” refers to the availability to access the system by telephone or online. Schmaltz adds that the One Call system of protecting underground facilities is in place to advance the safety of the public.

North Dakota One Call is codified into state law in the North Dakota Century Code. Key operational features of North Dakota One Call (NDOC) are:

• Anyone who engages in any type of excavation, with certain exemptions, must provide notice at least 48 hours in advance of the excavation activity (excluding weekends and holidays) to NDOC.

• Through NDOC, this message notification from an excavator is conveyed to the operator of the underground facilities in the excavation area, which then has 48 hours to mark the presence of its facilities in that area.

• Communications mediums the excavator can use to make notifications of intentions to dig include: calling 811 or 800-795-0555 or going online at is external).

NDOC is governed by a nine-member board of directors, consisting of representatives of telecommunications, electric, rural water, cable television, cities and gas distribution and gas gathering/transmission enterprises.

The operational details and requirements that make up NDOC are continuously examined, with improvements done as needed. The NDOC board and staff, in consultation with owners of underground facilities, excavation entities and lawmakers, identifies these improvement possibilities.

Since Aug. 1, 2017, 12 legislative changes to NDOC have been in effect. Schmaltz says the changes have helped to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the NDOC process. Three of the key legislative provisions helping to accomplish this are:

• Locate times - clarifies that the start time of the locate period as the later of: 48 hours beginning at 12:01 a.m. the day after the locate request is submitted to the notification center, plus any 24-hour extension provided through the center; or the period between the submission of the locate request to the notification center and the noted date and time of excavation.

• Positive response – requires facility operators to post their progress in marking underground facilities, in an area requested by an excavator.

• Site identification – requires an excavator to identify the area to be excavated by physical or electronic means, or other means as agreed upon by the parties to the NDOC ticket.

All 12 of the 2017 NDOC law changes may be found at NDCC Chapter 49, Section 23, and at the NDOC website.



• Friday, July 27, is 811 Day at the North Dakota State Fair, Minot.

• That day, North Dakota One Call welcomes visitors to its big presence in the SRT State Fair Park.

• Visitors can look over the national symbols of One Call/Call Before You Dig programs: the 811 car (a Corvette model) and the 811 bike (custom-built motorcycle).

• The 811 display at SRT State Fair Park on July 27 will have entertaining and educational activities for family members of all ages, and lots of giveaways.

“We want to thank the 21 corporate friends who are helping us sponsor 811 Day at the State Fair,” says Ryan Schmaltz, with NDOC. “Come and see us on July 27 at the Fair!”