Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
5/23/2022

Part V. Supplemental Rules, Etc.

20VAC5-309-120. Notification of clear evidence.

No person shall serve a notice on the notification center regarding clear evidence of the presence of an unmarked utility line pursuant to § 56-265.24 C of the Code of Virginia unless (i) the excavator has previously notified the notification center of the proposed excavation pursuant to § 56-265.17 A of the Code of Virginia, (ii) the excavator has complied with the requirements of 20VAC5-309-180, and (iii) the excavator has observed clear evidence of the presence of an unmarked utility line in the area of the proposed excavation.

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 29, Issue 4, eff. October 1, 2012.

20VAC5-309-130. Notification center data update.

Every operator required by § 56-265.16:1 A of the Code of Virginia to join the notification center shall provide to the notification center data that will allow proper notification to the operator of excavation near the operator's utility lines. This data shall be provided as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days after an operator installs or acquires underground facilities it had not previously identified to the notification center. In the case of sanitary sewers, the data shall be provided no later than 15 days after the utility line is accepted by the operator.

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.

20VAC5-309-140. Excavator's responsibilities to avoid damage, dislocating or disturbances of utility lines.

Any person excavating around underground utility lines shall take all reasonable steps to protect such utility lines. These steps shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The excavator shall plan the excavation in such a manner to avoid damage to, and minimize interference with, underground utility lines in and near the construction area;

2. The excavator shall expose the underground utility line to its extremities by hand digging within the excavation area when excavation is expected to come within two feet of the marked location of the underground utility line;

3. The excavator shall not utilize mechanized equipment within two feet of the extremities of all exposed utility lines;

4. The excavator shall maintain a reasonable clearance, to include the width of the utility line, if known, plus 24 inches, between the marked or staked location of an underground utility line and the cutting edge or point of any mechanized equipment, considering the known limit of control of the cutting edge or point to avoid damage to the utility line; and

5. The excavator shall provide proper support for underground utility lines during excavation activities. During backfill operations, the excavator shall use the same or similar backfill material that was originally around the utility line, ensure there is proper compaction around the utility line, protect all tracer wires, and protect or replace warning tapes.

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 12, 2004.

20VAC5-309-150. Requirement for trenchless excavation.

A. Any person conducting trenchless excavation shall take all reasonable steps necessary to protect and support underground utility lines. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, these steps shall include the following:

1. The excavator should verify that all utility lines in the area are marked;

2. The excavator shall ensure that bore equipment stakes are installed at a safe distance from marked utility lines;

3. When grounding rods are used, the excavator shall ensure that they are installed at a safe distance (at least 24 inches plus the width of the utility line, if known) away from the marked or staked location of utility lines;

4. The excavator shall ensure sufficient clearance is maintained between the bore path and any underground utility lines during pullback;

5. The excavator shall give special consideration to water and sewer systems within the area that cannot be located accurately;

6. Unless prohibited by other laws, ordinances, regulations, or rules of governmental and regulatory authorities having jurisdiction, the excavator shall expose all utility lines that will be in the bore path by hand digging to establish the underground utility line's location prior to commencing bore. For a parallel type bore, unless prohibited by other laws, ordinances, regulations, or rules of governmental and regulatory authorities having jurisdiction, the excavator shall expose the utility line by hand digging at reasonable distances along the bore path;

7. The excavator shall ensure the drill head locating device is functioning properly and within its specification;

8. The excavator shall visually check the drill head as it passes through potholes, entrances, and exit pits; and

9. If the depth indicated by the locating device is lower than the bottom of the pothole or pit, the excavator shall cease boring until the hole or pit can be hand excavated further to maintain a visual inspection of the drill head.

B. Notwithstanding the requirements of subdivision A 6 of this section, any person conducting trenchless excavation crossing any gravity fed sewer main or combination storm/sanitary sewer system utility lines need not expose such utility lines by hand digging if, in addition to meeting the other applicable requirements set forth in subsection A of this section, the following steps are taken:

1. Prior to commencing a trenchless excavation project, the excavator shall receive documentation from the utility line operator (such as, but not limited to, documentation through the permitting process) documenting that the operator has been notified of the proposed trenchless excavation and that trenchless excavation will be used to cross its underground utility line. The scope of a trenchless excavation project shall not exceed the scope of a single notice of excavation;

2. Prior to commencing the boring process, the excavator shall determine (i) the depth of the utility line through appropriate locating technology and (ii) the diameter and condition of the utility line using a sewer system camera with video recording capability;

3. The excavator shall ensure that a clearance of at least three feet is maintained between the bore path and the utility line;

4. After the trenchless excavation project has been completed, the excavator or a qualified contractor shall use a closed circuit sewer system video camera to determine the condition of the utility line and ensure that no cross bore or other damage has occurred;

5. The excavator or qualified contractor shall immediately notify the utility line operator of any damage found; and

6. After the bore has been completed, the excavator or qualified contractor shall make all video documentation available to the utility line operator and the division upon request. Such video documentation shall be maintained and made available for 12 months from the time of the notice of excavation.

C. The provisions of subsection B of this section shall apply only to gravity fed sewer mains or combination storm/sanitary systems that are considered "utility lines" as that term is defined in § 56-265.15 of the Act.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 18, eff. July 1, 2001; amended, Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2018; Volume 38, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2022.

20VAC5-309-160. Operator's responsibilities to maintain accurate records.

The operator shall prepare and maintain reasonably accurate installation records of the underground utility lines installed after July 1, 2001, other than electric, telecommunications, cable TV, water, and sewer underground service lines connected to a single family dwelling unit.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 18, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-309-165. Operator's responsibility for abandoned utility lines.

A. Upon receipt of an additional notice to the notification center pursuant to § 56-265.24 C of the Code of Virginia, if the operator determines that an abandoned utility line exists, the operator shall provide the status of the utility line to the excavator within 27 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, from the time the excavator makes the additional notice to the notification center. The excavator and operator may negotiate a mutually agreeable time period in excess of 27 hours for the operator to provide such information to the excavator if site conditions prohibit the operator from making such a determination or extraordinary circumstances exist, as defined in § 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia. If the site conditions prohibit the operator from making such a determination or extraordinary circumstances exist, the operator shall directly notify the person who proposes to excavate or demolish and shall, in addition, notify that person of the date and time when the status of the utility line will be determined. The deferral to determine the status of the utility line shall be no longer than 96 hours from 7 a.m. on the next working day following the excavator's additional notice to the notification center.

B. The operator shall record and maintain the location information of the abandoned utility line as determined by the operator. Such records need not include abandoned underground electric, telecommunications, cable television, water, and sewer lines connected to a single family dwelling unit.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 4, eff. October 1, 2012.

20VAC5-309-170. Responsibility to protect and preserve marking.

Every excavator shall be responsible to reasonably protect and preserve markings from the time the excavator begins work until markings are no longer required for the proper and safe excavation near the utility line.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 18, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-309-180. Excavator site inspection.

Prior to excavation, excavators shall verify they are at the correct location and shall verify locate markings and, to the best of their ability, check for unmarked utility lines. If unmarked utility lines are identified, the excavator shall comply with the requirements of § 56-265.24 C of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 18, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-309-190. Delineating specific location of a proposed excavation or demolition.

A. Any person, as defined in § 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia, providing notice of a proposed excavation or demolition shall clearly describe the limits of the proposed excavation or demolition with sufficient detail to enable the operators to ascertain the location of the proposed excavation. The specific location of the proposed excavation or demolition may include, but is not limited to:

1. GPS coordinates taken at a single point where work is planned or GPS coordinates taken to delineate a line, multi-segment line, or polygon. When providing a single point, line, or multi-segment line, the person providing notice shall include an area measured in feet from the coordinates that describe the work area. If a polygon is used, the proposed work area shall be inside the polygon. GPS nomenclatures used for providing coordinates to the notification center shall be as approved by the advisory committee.

2. White lining to delineate the area where excavation will take place. For single point excavation, the area shall be marked using dots, dashes, or white flags to show the operators the area of excavation. If utility markings are desired outside a white lined area, the excavator shall provide clear instructions, to include the distance in feet outside the white lined area, to the notification center. For continuous excavations, such as trenching and boring, the excavator shall mark the center line of excavation by the use of dots or dashes. The excavation width, in feet, shall be indicated on either side of the center line in legible figures or noted in the marking instructions given to the notification center.

3. White lining performed by electronic means using aerial imagery. White lining performed by electronic means shall follow the same requirements as listed in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

4. A reference to the two nearest intersecting streets, if available, or driving directions.

B. In the event that a proposed excavation or demolition is planned at a single address at which there is no more than one structure, the area of proposed excavation or demolition may , if geographically feasible, be described by dividing the parcel or property into four quadrants from the perspective of facing the front of the property using the center of the structure as the center point of the four quadrants. If no structure exists on the property, the center of the parcel or property will be used as the center point of the four quadrants. These four quadrants shall be referred to as Front Left, Front Right, Rear Left, and Rear Right. If the proposed area consists only of Front Left and Front Right quadrants, the term "Front" shall be sufficient. If the proposed area of excavation consists only of Rear Left and Rear Right quadrants, the term "Rear" shall be sufficient. If the proposed area of excavation consists only of Front Left and Rear Left quadrants, the term "Left Side" shall be sufficient. If the proposed area of excavation consists only of Front Right and Rear Right quadrants, the term "Right Side" shall be sufficient. If the proposed area of excavation includes three out of the four quadrants, the entire property may be used for the proposed excavation or demolition.

Statutory Authority

C. If the notice of proposed excavation or demolition does not contain specific location information, the notification center shall suspend the issuance of the notice until specific location information is obtained, except in the case of excavations or demolitions performed during an emergency, as defined in §56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia. The notification center shall issue the emergency notices with as much information as is available to it.§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.30 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 4, eff. October 1, 2012.

20VAC5-309-200. Reporting damage by calling 911.

In the event that damage to an underground utility line results in the escape of any flammable, toxic, hazardous, or corrosive gas or liquid, the excavator shall, in addition to complying with §§ 56-265.24 D and E of the Code of Virginia, promptly report the damage to the appropriate authorities by calling the 911 emergency telephone number.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 4, eff. October 1, 2012.

20VAC5-309-205. Commission authority.

Upon a finding that the public interest so requires, the commission may, upon motion, grant exemptions from any of the provisions of this chapter. The burden of proof shall be upon the movant to demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, that such exemption is in the public interest. The commission may, by order, require modification or elimination of any granted exemption no longer required by the public interest.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 7, eff. December 1, 2013.

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