Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 10.3. Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act
6/23/2024

§ 56-265.19. Duties of operator; regulations.

A. If a proposed excavation or demolition is planned in such proximity to the underground utility line that the utility line may be destroyed, damaged, dislocated, or disturbed, the operator shall mark the approximate horizontal location of the underground utility line on the ground to within two feet of either side of the underground utility line by means of stakes, paint, flags, or a combination thereof. The operator or contract locator shall mark the underground utility line and report the marking status to the positive response system by no later than 7:00 a.m. on the third working day following the excavator's locate request, unless a scheduled excavation date is provided by the excavator to the notification center or the operator or contract locator is unable to do so due to extraordinary or exigent circumstances. Any scheduled excavation date shall not be less than 48 hours nor more than 12 working days from the date of the locate request. If a scheduled excavation date is provided by the excavator to the notification center, the operator or contract locator shall mark the underground utility line and report the marking status to the positive response system by no later than 7:00 a.m. on the scheduled day of excavation. Any locate request made on a day that is not a working day shall be considered as having been submitted to the notification center on the next working day at 7:00 a.m. If the operator is unable to mark the location within the time allowed under this section due to extraordinary or exigent circumstances, the operator shall notify directly the person who proposes to excavate or demolish and shall, in addition, notify the person of the date and time when the location will be marked. The deferral to mark for extraordinary or exigent circumstances shall be no longer than 96 hours from 7:00 a.m. on the next working day following the locate request, unless a longer time is otherwise agreed upon by the operator and excavator. The operator shall also inform the notification center of any deferral.

B. If a proposed excavation or demolition is not planned in such proximity to the operator's underground utility lines that the utility line may be damaged, the operator shall so report to the notification center's positive response system no later than 7:00 a.m. on the third working day following the excavator's locate request.

C. An operator shall participate in all preplanning and preconstruction meetings originated by state, county or municipal authorities relating to proposed construction projects which may affect the operator's existing or future utility lines and shall cooperate in implementing decisions reached in such preplanning and preconstruction meetings.

D. Any contract locator acting on behalf of an operator and failing to perform the duties imposed by this chapter shall be subject to the liabilities in § 56-265.25 and the civil penalties in § 56-265.32.

E. Locators shall be trained in applicable locating industry standards and practices no less stringent than the National Utility Locating Contractors Association's locator training standards and practices. Each locator's training shall be documented. Such documents shall be maintained by the operator or contract locator.

F. The Commission shall be authorized to adopt regulations designating: (i) letters for each operator to be used in conjunction with marking of underground utility lines, and (ii) symbols for marking of underground utility lines, in compliance with subdivision 2 of § 56-265.17:3. Such letter designation and marking symbols shall be in accordance with industry standards.

G. For underground utility lines abandoned after July 1, 2002, operators shall make a reasonable attempt to keep records of these abandoned utility lines, excluding service lines connected to a single-family dwelling unit. When an operator has knowledge that the operator's abandoned utility lines may be present within the area of the proposed excavation, the operator shall provide a response to the positive response system. Such information regarding abandoned lines shall be for informational purposes only. An operator shall not be liable to any person, or subject to civil penalties, as a result of the operator's providing incorrect information regarding abandoned lines or the subsequent use of such information. The positive response system may refer any person with concerns about the accuracy of information regarding abandoned lines to the appropriate operator.

H. An operator shall respond to an emergency notice as soon as possible but no later than three hours from the excavator's contact to the notification center.

1979, c. 291; 1980, c. 696; 1994, c. 890; 1996, c. 79; 2002, c. 841; 2005, c. 395; 2023, cc. 299, 300.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.