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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 10.3. Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act
7/14/2020

§ 56-265.19:1. Private sewer laterals and sewer system laterals.

A. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, the protection of sewer system laterals and private sewer laterals shall be implemented as provided in this section. When an excavation is to take place within a public right-of-way or public sewer easement, the sewer system operator shall exercise reasonable care to mark the approximate horizontal location of sewer system laterals within the public right-of-way or public sewer easement as provided in § 56-265.19.

B. When (i) an excavation is to take place outside the public right-of-way or public sewer easement, (ii) the excavation involves the installation or maintenance of gas or electric utility lines by trenchless technology, (iii) the potential for a conflict with a sewer lateral exists, and (iv) sewer system laterals are located in the public right-of-way:

1. The sewer system operator shall exercise reasonable care to mark the approximate horizontal location of sewer system laterals by:

a. Marking the location of the sewer system lateral where it meets the edge of the right-of-way or public sewer easement, if known; or

b. If the location described in subdivision B 1 a is unknown, marking the location where the sewer system lateral connects to the sewer system main.

2. When the sewer system laterals have been marked in accordance with subdivision B 1 and the excavator reasonably concludes that a private sewer lateral may be impacted by the planned excavation based upon visual evidence, knowledge of the proposed excavation site, or other information available to the excavator, the excavator shall exercise reasonable care to protect the private sewer lateral. For purposes of this subdivision, reasonable care includes the following actions:

a. Reviewing information provided by the private sewer lateral owner;

b. Meeting with the sewer system operator on-site, if the sewer system operator has additional information to provide about the location of private sewer laterals; or

c. Conducting a visual inspection of the proposed excavation site in an effort to determine the probable path of the sewer lateral.

C. When (i) an excavation is to take place within or outside the public right-of-way or public sewer easement, (ii) the excavation involves the installation or maintenance of gas or electric utility lines by trenchless technology, (iii) the potential for a conflict with a sewer lateral exists, and (iv) private sewer laterals are located in the public right-of-way or easement:

1. The sewer system operator shall assist the excavator by one of the following methods, unless the operator marks private sewer laterals in the manner required for its sewer system laterals under subsection B:

a. Provide copies of the best reasonably available records regarding the location of the private sewer laterals by electronic message, mail, facsimile, or other delivery method. If an excavation affects 25 or more private sewer laterals, the sewer system operator's response shall be in accordance with the timelines set forth in § 56-265.17:3. If the provision of records required by this subsection imposes an unreasonable burden or substantial cost upon a sewer system operator, the excavator and the sewer system operator shall endeavor in good faith to reach an agreement to provide the sewer system operator with additional time to provide the records or any other mutually agreeable accommodation.

b. Provide the best reasonably available records on the Internet or another readily accessible electronic system in order that the records may be retrieved by the excavator from a remote location. If the sewer system operator has implemented such a system, then the sewer system operator shall have no further obligations to provide records under subdivision C 1 a.

c. If the sewer system operator has no such records, but has additional information to provide about the location of private sewer laterals, then the sewer system operator shall notify the excavator of such information and, upon request, either meet with the excavator on-site or convey such information to the excavator.

2. When the records have been made available in accordance with subdivision C 1 and the excavator reasonably concludes that a private sewer lateral may be impacted by the planned excavation based upon visual evidence, knowledge of the proposed excavation site, or other information available to the excavator, the excavator shall exercise reasonable care to protect the private sewer lateral. For purposes of this subdivision, reasonable care includes the following actions:

a. Reviewing information provided by the sewer system operator;

b. Reviewing information provided by the private sewer lateral owner;

c. Meeting with the sewer system operator on-site if the sewer system operator has additional information to provide about the location of private sewer laterals; or

d. Conducting a visual inspection of the proposed excavation site in an effort to determine the probable path of the sewer lateral.

D. Sewer system operators shall mark utility lines, other than sewer system laterals and private sewer laterals, as provided by other sections of this chapter.

E. Water system operators shall mark water system utility lines as provided by other sections of this chapter, except that a water system operator shall not be responsible for marking private water laterals.

F. Records regarding the location of private sewer laterals provided on the Internet or otherwise made accessible by an electronic system pursuant to subdivision C 1 b shall also be accessible to other public utilities and cable operators or excavators working on their behalf for purposes of compliance with this chapter.

G. In all excavations, the excavator shall exercise reasonable care to protect underground utility lines.

2010, c. 205.

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.