§ 25-9-7. Determining whether utility facilities are present; information to UPC; noncompliance; future utility facilities; abandoned utility facilities.

CODE OF GEORGIA

Title 25. FIRE PROTECTION AND SAFETY

Chapter 9. BLASTING OR EXCAVATING NEAR UNDERGROUND GAS PIPES AND UTILITY FACILITIES

Current through 2019 Chapter 321

§ 25-9-7. Determining whether utility facilities are present; information to UPC; noncompliance; future utility facilities; abandoned utility facilities

(a)
(1) Within 48 hours beginning the next business day following receipt by the UPC of the locate request filed in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6, excluding hours during days other than business days, each facility owner or operator shall determine whether or not utility facilities are located on the tract or parcel of land upon which the excavating or blasting is to occur. If utility facilities are determined to be present, the facility owner or operator shall designate, through stakes, flags, permanent markers, or other marks on the surface of the tract or parcel of land, the location of utility facilities. This subsection shall not apply to large projects.
(2) Designation of the location of utility facilities through staking, flagging, permanent markers, or other marking shall be in accordance with the American Public Works Association (APWA) color code in place at the time the location of the utility facility is designated. Additional marking requirements beyond color code, if any, shall be prescribed by rules and regulations promulgated by the Public Service Commission.
(3) A facility owner or operator is not required to mark its own facilities within 48 hours if the facility owner or operator or its agents are the only parties performing the excavation; however, such facilities shall be designated prior to the actual start of excavation.
(b)
(1) Within 48 hours beginning the next business day following receipt by the UPC of the locate request filed in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6, excluding hours during days other than business days, each sewer system owner or operator shall determine whether or not sewer laterals are located or likely to be located on the tract or parcel of land upon which the excavating or blasting is to occur. If sewer laterals are determined to be present or likely to be present, then the sewer system owner or operator shall assist in designating sewer laterals up to the edge of the public right of way. Such assistance shall not constitute ownership or operation of the sewer lateral by the sewer system owner or operator. Good faith compliance with provisions of this subsection in response to a locate request shall constitute full compliance with this chapter, and no person shall be found liable to any party for damages or injuries as a result of performing in compliance with the requirements of this subsection.
(2) To assist in designating sewer laterals, the sewer system owner or operator shall provide its best available information regarding the location of the sewer laterals to the excavator. This information shall be conveyed to the excavator in a manner that may include, but shall not be limited to, any one of the following methods:
(A) Marking the location of sewer laterals in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, provided that:
(i) Any sewer lateral designated using the best available information shall constitute a good faith attempt and shall be deemed to be in compliance with this subsection, provided that such mark represents only the best available information of the sewer system owner or operator and may not be accurate; and
(ii) If a sewer lateral is unlocatable, a triangular green mark shall be placed at the sewer main pointing at the address in question to indicate the presence of an unlocatable sewer lateral;
(B) Providing electronic copies of or delivering the records through facsimile or by other means to an agreed upon location within 48 hours beginning the next business day following receipt by the UPC of the locate request filed in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6, excluding hours during days other than business days; provided, however, that for local governing authorities that receive fewer than 50 locate requests annually, the local governing authority may designate the agreed upon location and communicate such designation to the excavator;
(C) Arranging to meet the excavator on site to provide the best available information about the location of the sewer laterals;
(D) Providing the records through other processes and to other locations approved by documented agreement between the excavator and the facility owner or operator; or
(E) Any other reasonable means of conveyance approved by the commission after receiving recommendations from the advisory committee, provided that such means are equivalent to or exceed the provisions of subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of this paragraph.
(c) Each facility owner or operator, either upon determining that no utility facility or sewer lateral is present on the tract or parcel of land or upon completion of the designation of the location of any utility facilities or sewer laterals on the tract or parcel of land as required by subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section, shall provide this information to the UPC in accordance with procedures developed by the UPC, which may include the use of the PRIS. In no event shall such notice be provided later than midnight of the second business day following receipt by the UPC of actual notice filed in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6.
(d) In the event the facility owner or operator is unable to designate the location of the utility facilities or sewer laterals due to extraordinary circumstances, the facility owner or operator shall notify the UPC and provide an estimated completion date in accordance with procedures developed by the UPC, which may include the use of the PRIS.
(e) If, at the end of the time period specified in subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section, any facility owner or operator has not complied with the requirements of subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Code section, as applicable, the UPC shall issue a second request to each such facility owner or operator. If the facility owner or operator does not respond to this additional request by 12:00 Noon of that business day, either by notifying the UPC in accordance with procedures developed by the UPC that no utility facilities or sewer laterals are present on the tract or parcel of land, or by designating the location of such utility facilities or sewer laterals in accordance with the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section, as applicable, then the person providing notice pursuant to Code Section 25-9-6 may proceed with the excavating or blasting, provided that there is no visible and obvious evidence of the presence of an unmarked utility facility or sewer lateral on the tract or parcel of land. Such person shall not be subject to any liability resulting from damage to the utility facility or sewer lateral as a result of the blasting or excavating, provided that such person complies with the requirements of Code Section 25-9-8.
(f) If visible and obvious evidence of the presence of an unmarked utility facility or sewer lateral does exist and the facility owner or operator either refuses to comply with subsections (a) through (d) of this Code section, as applicable, or is not a member of the UPC, then the excavator shall attempt to designate such facility or sewer lateral prior to excavating. The facility owner or operator shall be strictly liable for the actual costs associated with the excavator designating such utility facilities and sewer laterals and any associated downtime. Such costs shall not exceed $100.00 or documented actual costs, whichever is greater, for each locate request.
(g) All utility facilities installed by facility owners or operators on or after January 1, 2001, shall be installed in a manner which will make them locatable using a generally accepted electronic locating method. All sewer laterals installed on or after January 1, 2006, shall be installed in a manner which will make them locatable by facility owners or operators using a generally accepted electronic locating method. In the event that an unlocatable utility facility or unlocatable sewer lateral becomes exposed when the facility owner or operator is present or in the case of sewer laterals when the sewer utility owner or operator is present on or after January 1, 2006, such utility facility or sewer lateral shall be made locatable through the use of a permanent marker or an updating of permanent records.
(h) Facility owners or operators shall either maintain recorded information concerning the location and other characteristics of abandoned utility facilities, maintain such abandoned utility facilities in a locatable manner, or remove such abandoned utility facilities. Facility owners or operators shall provide information on abandoned utility facilities, when possible, in response to a locate request or design locate request. When the presence of an abandoned facility within an excavation site is known, the facility owner or operator should attempt to designate the abandoned facility or provide information to the excavator regarding such facilities. When located or exposed, all abandoned utility facilities and sewer laterals shall be treated as live utility facilities and sewer laterals.
(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a facility owner or operator may use a locator to designate any or all utility facilities and sewer laterals. The use of a locator shall not relieve the facility owner or operator of any responsibility under this chapter. However, by contract a facility owner or operator may be indemnified by a locator for any failure on the part of the locator to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(j) Large project rules shall be promulgated by the Public Service Commission. These rules shall include, but shall not be limited to, the establishment of detailed processes. Such rules may also include changes in the time period allowed for a facility owner or operator to comply with the provisions of this chapter and the time period for which designations are valid.
(k)
(1) Within 48 hours beginning the next business day following receipt by the UPC of the locate request filed in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6, excluding hours during days other than business days, each facility owner or operator shall determine whether or not unlocatable facilities other than sewer laterals are present. In the event that such facilities are determined to be present, the facility owner or operator shall exercise reasonable care in locating such facilities. The exercise of reasonable care shall require, at a minimum, the use of the best available information to designate the facilities and notification to the UPC of such attempted location. Placing markers or otherwise leaving evidence of locations of facilities is deemed to be an acceptable form of notification to the excavator or locator.
(2) This subsection shall not apply to sewer laterals.

Cite as OCGA § 25-9-7

History. Amended by 2014 Ga. Laws 610, §4, eff. 7/1/2014.

Amended by 2005 Ga. Laws 362, §6, eff. 7/1/2005.