Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 20. Public Utilities And Telecommunications
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission
Chapter 309. Rules for Enforcement of the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act

20VAC5-309-110. General marking requirements.

A. All markings shall be suitable for their intended purpose for a period of 15 working days beginning at 7 a.m. on the next working day following a locate request or the scheduled excavation date.

B. Markings shall be made at sufficient intervals to clearly indicate the approximate horizontal location and direction of the underground utility line. However, the distance between any two marks indicating the same utility line shall not exceed 20 feet. Site conditions or directional changes of the underground utility line shall be considered to determine the need for shorter distance between marks.

C. Markings of underground utility lines shall be by means of stakes, paint, flags, or combination thereof. The terrain, site conditions, and the type and extent of the proposed excavation shall be considered to determine the most suitable means to mark underground utility lines.

D. Paint marks shall be approximately eight to 10 inches in length and one to two inches in width except when "spot" marking is necessary.

E. A minimum of three separate marks shall be made for each underground utility line marking.

F. Valve box covers that are at grade and visible shall be marked in response to a locate request with the appropriate color in accordance with the Act.

G. If in the process of marking an underground utility line, a customer-owned underground utility line of the same type is discovered, the operator or its contract locator shall make a reasonable effort to contact the excavator or the customer to advise of the presence of the line.

H. Where the proposed excavation crosses an underground utility line, markings shall be at intervals that clearly define the route of the underground line.

I. All markings shall extend, if practical, a reasonable distance beyond the boundaries of the specific location of the proposed work as detailed on the locate request.

J. If the use of line marking is considered damaging to property (driveways, landscaping, historic locations to the extent boundaries are known), "spot" marking or other suitable marking methods shall be used.

K. Markings shall be valid for an excavation site for 15 working days beginning at 7 a.m. on the next working day following the locate request or the scheduled excavation date by the excavator or until one of the following events occurs:

1. The markings become faded, illegible, or destroyed; or

2. If the markings were placed in response to an emergency and the emergency condition has ceased to exist.

L. Where permitted by the operator's records, all utility lines of the same type in the same trench owned by the same operator shall be marked individually or by a single mark. If a single mark is used, the number of the utility lines shall be indicated at every other mark.

M. Operators or their contract locators shall use all information necessary to mark their facilities accurately.

N. Markings of an underground utility line greater than 12 inches in nominal outside dimension shall be marked with line markings indicating the approximate outer dimensions of the utility line and include the size in inches at every other mark.

O. Duct structures and conduit systems shall be marked with line markings indicating the approximate outer dimensions of the duct structure or conduit system and a solid closed circle over the approximate center of the duct structure or conduit system.

P. In areas where marks would be destroyed, such as high traffic areas, gravel areas, or dirt areas or where surface conditions are such that the placement of marks directly over the utility line is not possible, offset markings shall be used. The offset marks shall be placed on a permanent surface, which is not likely to be destroyed. Offset marks shall include a line marking placed parallel to the underground utility line and an arrow, pointing in the direction of the utility line, with the distance in feet and inches to the location of the utility line shown on the right side of the arrow and size, material type, and the operator's letter designation information on the left side of the arrow. When possible, offset marks shall be used in conjunction with locate marks placed in accordance with the Act.

Q. The assigned letter designations for each operator to be used in conjunction with markings of underground utility lines shall be the same as those assigned by the notification center certified for a geographic area, subject to the review of the same and approval of such designations by the Advisory Committee (committee). Such approved designations by the committee shall be deemed final unless appealed to the State Corporation Commission (commission) within 30 days of the committee's written evidence of approval. Operators wishing to appeal the letter designations assigned in accordance with this section may file an appropriate formal pleading with the commission seeking review of the assigned letter designation within 30 days of the issuance of the written approval of the committee.

R. The symbols for marking of underground utility lines in compliance with § 56-265.19 F (ii) of the Code of Virginia shall be the same as those placed in response to a locate request.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.30 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 9, eff. July 1, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 18, eff. July 1, 2001; Volume 20, Issue 15, eff. March 15, 2004; Volume 29, Issue 4, eff. October 1, 2012; Volume 40, Issue 16, eff. April 1, 2024.

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