Call Before You Dig Current Provisions
ALL excavators using power-operated equipment must call a central clearinghouse before they excavate. Except for an emergency excavation, the call must be made “at least two full days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, but not more than thirty (30) days” before the excavation. (Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA) §16-345-4(a)(1))
ALL owners of underground facilities (excluding facilities owned by the owner of a private residence, for utility service solely for such residence - RCSA §16-345-1) must provide the location of their facilities to a central clearinghouse. The central clearinghouse receives notices from the person performing the excavation, correlates the location of the proposed excavation to the facilities registered with it by the utilities, and notifies the utilities of the pending excavation.
Owners of underground facilities then mark the location of their facilities to provide for safe excavation. Following these steps should result in no damage to underground facilities.
Owners of utility facilities are required to report suspected violations to the clearinghouse. If any party in the process fails to follow any of the requirements, civil penalties may be assessed against the violator.
Forgetting to call in accordance with RCSA §16-345-4(a)(1), is NOT an emergency. Emergency excavation is covered by RCSA §16-345-4(a)(2) and is defined as "an excavation or demolition without explosives that is necessary to correct an emergency involving danger to life, health, or property, the interruption of operation of a major industrial plant, or to assure the continuity of public utility service.” Any other failure to wait the required time can result in a civil penalty.
Report of Contact or Damage
“When any contact is made with or damage is done to any underground facility of a public utility, the excavator responsible for the operations causing such contact or damage shall: (1) Immediately and directly report the contact or damage to the affected public utility..." and "(2) when such contact or damage includes the occurring of a serious electrical short circuit or the escaping of combustible or hazardous fluids or gases (such as natural gas, propane, jet fuel or chlorine) or any other event endangering the public, the excavator responsible for the excavation or demolition involved in such damage shall also alert all persons within the danger area, shall alert police, fire, or other emergency personnel, and take all feasible steps, including, where applicable, eliminating sources of ignition and evacuating employees and the general public from the affected area..." (RCSA §16-345-4(f))
In addition, an excavator shall not tamper with or attempt to repair such facility except when and to the extent authorized by the public utility.
“Contact” means the striking, scraping or denting, however slight, of any underground utility facility, including any underground utility facility protective coating, housing or other protective device.” (RCSA §16-345-1(19))
Responsibility for the Excavation Damage Prevention Program
General oversight of the excavation damage prevention program, education and enforcement of the requirements rests with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.
A strong and essential part of the underground damage prevention program is education of excavators, owners of underground facilities and the general public regarding the requirements of this program. Additionally, helpful material is contained in the Excavator Manual prepared by Call Before You Dig, Inc.
Content last updated May 2021