Locating Lines

As a member of Maryland’s “One Call Concept” system (or “Miss Utility”) Howard County receives more than 100 daily requests from excavators to locate and mark public water and sewer lines.

Please call “Miss Utility” at 1-800-257-7777, or 811, at least 48 hours prior to work, to have all utilities located (BGE, Verizon, Comcast, etc.). To download a homeowner brochure with additional information, click here.

See the chart on the right for corresponding color code markings for all utilities, or download the chart by clicking the button below.

codes

Note to Homeowners

Howard County does not locate or mark your private water and sewer lines. We have no information or maps indicating specifically where the plumber installed your private water and sewer lines. We only mark up to your property line, which usually means your water meter (or ball valve) and the sewer cleanout that is usually located along your property line. Any lines beyond that point, including your house and sewer cleanout, are considered your private water and sewer lines, and are your responsibility to maintain and have located if needed.

However, we realize that ball valve box lids and sewer cleanouts sometimes get buried, or you just can’t determine where they’re located. If you would need these items located to assist you in determining how your private water and sewer lines run on your property, please give us a call at 410-313-4900. We will be happy to send a locator out to your home with any location information and a metal detector to locate these two items. This will show the area at which water and sewer come onto your property.

Some Things to Keep in Mind
Title
Line Depth and "Frost Line"
Content

By code, the plumber should have installed your water and sewer lines at least 36" deep. That is the "frost line" for this area, to prevent freezing in winter. If you're digging 18" or less, there should be no conflict with your water or sewer lines.

Title
How Your Water Lines are Located
Content

As an example, if a plumber was to repair your outside water service, they would look for two points of reference to determine how your water line runs on your property :

  • The location of the water meter (or ball valve) at the property line.
  • The point at which your water comes into your house.

Between those two points, they would have a general idea of how the water runs on your property. It’s usually a ‘straight shot’ between those two points, but the exact layout of lines on your personal property is the type of knowledge for which the County has no specific information.

Title
Our Obligations
Content

Howard County is legally obligated to locate/mark our public water and sewer utilities only when an excavator is digging within 5 feet of our utilities.

However, we realize that ball valve box lids and sewer cleanouts sometimes get buried, or you just can’t determine where they’re located. If you would need these items located to assist you in determining how your private water and sewer lines run on your property, please give us a call at 410-313-4900. We will be happy to send a locator out to your home with any location information and a metal detector to locate these two items. This will show the area at which water and sewer come onto your property.

In Howard County, the water meter (or ball valve) is the County's responsibility to maintain, whereas the sewer cleanout is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain.

Title
Getting Responses from Your Miss Utility Ticket
Content

As per Maryland's State Senate Bill 879, passed in May 2001, all Utility owners are required to provide a "Positive Response" to all One Call Concept Tickets.

If you have called in a ticket, you can check the status of your ticket, indicating the various utilities that have been "marked" or "cleared" for your job, at Miss Utility's website or by calling the toll-free Miss Utility Ticket Check® system at (866) 821-4226.

Please have your ticket number available. You will be prompted for an "ID Code". That will be the callback phone number you provided when you called in the ticket. Please allow 48 hours for your ticket to be processed.

Each utility provider (BGE, Comcast, Verizon, etc.) will provide a "Response Code" :

  • Code 1: Clear/No conflict.
  • Code 2: Marked.
  • Code 3: 24- hour delay.
  • Code 4: 48- hour delay.
  • Code 5: Not complete/In progress: Have spoken with the excavator.
  • Code 9: Marked up to privately owned utility.
  • Code 10: Incorrect address information. 

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