THE LAW

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THIS DOCUMENT, COPIED FROM THE OHIO REVISED CODE IS TO BE UTILIZED FOR REFERENCE ONLY FOR ANY LEGAL REQUIREMENTS. PLEASE REFER TO THE MOST CURRENT EDITION OF THE OHIO REVISED CODE.

3781.25 [Effective 3/27/2013] One-call utility protection service definitions

As used in sections 3781.25 to 3781.32 of the Revised Code:

(A) “Protection service” means a notification center, but not an owner of an individual utility, that exists for the purpose of receiving notice from persons that prepare plans and specifications for or that engage in excavation work, that distributes this information to its members and participants, and that has registered by March 14, 1989, with the secretary of state and the public utilities commission of Ohio under former division (F) of section 153.64 of the Revised Code as it existed on that date.

(B) “Underground utility facility” includes any item buried or placed below ground or submerged under water for use in connection with the storage or conveyance of water or sewage; electronic, telephonic, or telegraphic communications; television signals; electricity; crude oil; petroleum products; artificial or liquefied petroleum; manufactured, mixed, or natural gas; synthetic or liquefied natural gas; propane gas; coal; steam; hot water; or other substances. “Underground utility facility” includes all operational underground pipes, sewers, tubing, conduits, cables, valves, lines, wires, worker access holes, and attachments, owned by any person, firm, or company. “Underground utility facility” does not include a private septic system in a one-family or multi-family dwelling utilized only for that dwelling and not connected to any other system.

(C) “Utility” means any owner or operator, or an agent of an owner or operator, of an underground utility facility, including any public authority , that owns or operates an underground utility facility. “Utility” does not include the owners of the following types of real property with respect to any underground utility facility located on that property:

(1) The owner of a single-family or two-, three-, or four-unit residential dwelling;

(2) The owner of an apartment complex;

(3) The owner of a commercial or industrial building or complex of buildings, including but not limited to, factories and shopping centers;

(4) The owner of a farm.

(D) “Approximate location” means the immediate area within the perimeter of a proposed excavation site where the underground utility facilities are located.

(E) “Tolerance zone” means the site of the underground utility facility including the width of the underground utility facility plus eighteen inches on each side of the facility.

(F) ” Working days” excludes Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays as defined in section 1.14 of the Revised Code and “hours” excludes hours on Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

(G) “Designer” means an engineer, architect, landscape architect, contractor, surveyor, or other person who develops plans or designs for real property improvement or any other activity that will involve excavation.

(H) “Developer” means the person for whom the excavation is made and who will own or be the lessee of any improvement that is the object of the excavation.

(I) “Excavation” means the use of hand tools, powered equipment, or explosives to move earth, rock, or other materials in order to penetrate or bore or drill into the earth, or to demolish any structure whether or not it is intended that the demolition will disturb the earth. “Excavation” includes such agricultural operations as the installation of drain tile, but excludes agricultural operations such as tilling that do not penetrate the earth to a depth of more than twelve inches. “Excavation” excludes any activity by a governmental entity which does not penetrate the earth to a depth of more than twelve inches. “Excavation” excludes coal mining and reclamation operations regulated under Chapter 1513. of the Revised Code and rules adopted under it.

(J) “Excavation site” means the area within which excavation will be performed.

(K) “Excavator” means the person or persons responsible for making the actual excavation.

(L) “Interstate gas pipeline” means an interstate gas pipeline subject to the “Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968,” 82 Stat. 720, 49 U.S.C. 1671, as amended.

(M) “Interstate hazardous liquids pipeline” means an interstate hazardous liquids pipeline subject to the “Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979,” 93 Stat. 1003, 49 U.S.C. 2002, as amended.

(N) “Special notification requirements” means requirements for notice to an owner of an interstate hazardous liquids pipeline or an interstate gas pipeline that must be made prior to commencing excavation and pursuant to the owner’s public safety program adopted under federal law.

(O) “Commercial excavator” means any excavator, excluding a utility as defined in this section, that satisfies both of the following:

(1) For compensation, performs, directs, supervises, or is responsible for the excavation, construction, improvement, renovation, repair, or maintenance on a construction project and holds out or represents oneself as qualified or permitted to act as such;

(2) Employs tradespersons who actually perform excavation, construction, improvement, renovation, repair, or maintenance on a construction project.

(P) “Person” has the same meaning as in section 1.59 of the Revised Code and also includes a public authority.

(Q) “Positive response system” means an automated system facilitated by a protection service allowing a utility to communicate to an excavator the presence or absence of any conflict between the existing underground utility facilities and the proposed excavation site.

(R) “One call notification system” means the software or communications system used by a protection system to notify its membership of proposed excavation sites.

(S) “Project” means any undertaking by a private party of an improvement requiring excavation.

(T) “Public authority” has the same meaning as in section 153.64 of the Revised Code.

(U) “Improvement” means any construction, reconstruction, improvement, enlargement, alteration, or repair of a building, highway, drainage system, water system, road, street, alley, sewer, ditch, sewage disposal plant, water works, and all other structures or works of any nature.

(V) “Emergency” means an unexpected occurrence causing a disruption or damage to an underground utility facility that requires immediate repair or a situation that creates a clear and imminent danger that demands immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of or damage to life, health, property, or essential public services.

(W) “Nondestructive manner” means using low-impact, low-risk technologies such as hand tools, or hydro or air vacuum excavation equipment.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Effective Date: 07-02-1990

3781.26 [Effective 3/27/2013] Protection service for underground utility facilities

(A) Each utility that owns or operates underground utility facilities shall participate in and register the location of its underground utility facilities with a protection service that serves the area where the facilities are located. A utility may elect to participate in the service on a limited basis and if it does so, it shall register the location of its underground utility facilities by identifying the municipal corporations, and outside the limits of a municipal corporation, the townships by county and, where applicable, the immediate geographic area in which it has facilities. The service shall establish reasonable fees for limited basis participants.

(B) Protection services, utilities, commercial excavators, excavation equipment dealers, the public utilities commission of Ohio, the board of building standards, local law enforcement agencies, and fire departments should publicize the importance of ascertaining the location of underground utility facilities before excavating and the use of protection services to ascertain that information.

(C) A protection service shall maintain records of notifications received from developers, designers, and excavators, and of its notifications made to utilities, developers, designers, and excavators, under sections 3781.27 and 3781.28 of the Revised Code. The records of a protection service shall identify by reference number, the notifications it received regarding a proposed excavation site, the notifications it provided regarding a proposed excavation site, and the date and time of each notification. 

(D) Each utility fully participating in a protection service pursuant to this section shall also participate in its affiliated positive response system. Each utility participating in a protection service on a limited basis shall directly communicate to the excavator the presence or absence of any conflict between the existing underground utility facilities and the proposed excavation site.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Effective Date: 03-14-1989

3781.261 [Effective 3/27/2013] Protection of underground utility facilities training.

An excavator, contractor, or utility that utilizes a protection service shall obtain training in the protection of underground utility facilities. An excavator, contractor, or utility shall be deemed to have obtained that training if the excavator, contractor, or utility is a member of a protection service or a statewide association representing excavators, contractors, or utilities and the service or association provides that training. An excavator, contractor, or utility also may obtain the training from such a service or association without becoming a member.

Added by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

3781.27 [Effective 3/27/2013] Developer or designer notifying protection service of intended excavation

(A) In order to ascertain the name of each utility with underground utility facilities located at the proposed excavation site and the types and tolerance zones of those facilities based on current records of the utility, any developer who is planning a project that will require excavation or the designer employed by the developer for the project shall notify a protection service of the location of the proposed excavation site.

(B) Except in the case of limited basis participants, the protection service shall provide notice of the proposed excavation to each participant in the service that has underground utility facilities in the area of the proposed excavation site. Except as provided in section 3781.271 of the Revised Code, in the case of limited basis participants, the protection service shall notify the developer or the designer employed by the developer of the name of each limited basis participant with underground utility facilities within the municipal corporation or township and county of the proposed excavation site, and the developer or designer shall contact that utility.

(C)

(1) Each utility that has any underground utility facilities in the area of the proposed excavation site shall notify the developer or the designer employed by the developer of the locations and description of the utility’s underground utility facilities located at the proposed excavation site in accordance with division (C)(2) of this section. The utility shall make this notification within ten working days of receiving a notice under division (B) of this section or by a later date acceptable to the developer or designer and utility. In the case of an interstate hazardous liquid pipeline or an interstate gas pipeline, the utility also shall provide written notice to the developer or designer of any special notification requirements.

(2) If requested by the developer or the designer employed by the developer, each utility shall do one of the following in order to comply with the notification requirements of division (C)(1) of this section:

(a) Mark the location of the underground utility facilities, other than those facilities serving single-family or two-, three-, or four-unit dwellings, at the proposed excavation site in accordance with the marking standards described in division (C) of section 3781.29 of the Revised Code;

(b) Provide digital or paper drawings, or both, that meet both of the following requirements:

(i) They are drawn to scale and include locatable items. Locatable items may include poles, pedestals, back of curb, sidewalk, edge of pavement, centerline of ditch, property lines, and other similar items.

(ii) They depict the location of the underground utility facilities.

Compliance with division (C)(2) of this section does not relieve a utility from compliance with the marking requirements of section 3781.29 of the Revised Code.

(D) The utility shall determine if any relocation, support, or removal, or protective steps beyond those described in divisions (A)(1) to (5) of section 3781.30 of the Revised Code are required in order to prevent disturbance or interference with the underground utility facilities during excavation. The utility shall determine whether it will permit the developer or the designer employed by the developer to make those adjustments, and, if the adjustments are to be made by the utility, a reasonable amount of time necessary to make those adjustments.

(E)

(1) Based on the information provided pursuant to division (C) of this section, the developer or the designer employed by the developer shall indicate the approximate locations of underground utility facilities either on or with the plans prepared for the project. The developer or designer shall include with the plans the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of utilities with underground facilities at the excavation site, indicating which utilities are limited basis participants; the name and telephone number of any appropriate protection service; and any required adjustments as described in division (D) of this section, including the reasonable time necessary for the utility to make those adjustments. In the case of an interstate hazardous liquid pipeline or an interstate gas pipeline, the developer or designer also shall include any special notification requirements.

(2)

(a) Except as otherwise provided in division (E)(2)(b) of this section, the developer or designer shall provide the plans to the commercial excavator prior to entering into a contract that involves such excavation. If the developer does not prepare written plans or have any written plans prepared, the developer shall otherwise provide the approximate locations, identifying information on the utilities, information on required adjustments, and any special notification requirements to the commercial excavator before excavation begins.

(b) When the developer is a utility, the utility shall provide either the plans or the approximate locations, identifying information on the utilities, information on required adjustments, and any special notification requirements to the excavator before excavation begins.

(3) The developer or designer shall design the project taking into account the approximate location of existing underground utility facilities in order to prevent, as far as is practicable, disturbance or interference with those facilities.

(4) When a project includes installation of new underground utility facilities, the developer or designer shall attempt to design the installation so that at least a twelve-inch clearance is provided between the facilities. No facility shall be installed with less than a twelve-inch clearance unless the owners of existing facilities are notified, in writing, prior to installation.

(F)

(1) This section does not apply in the case of a utility making emergency repair to its own underground utility facility.

(2) This section does not apply in the case of the owner of the types of real property identified in divisions (C)(1) to (4) of section 3781.25 of the Revised Code, unless the owner employs a designer to make written plans for work that will involve excavation. If the owner employs a designer, the designer shall contact a protection service and utilities that are limited basis participants in accordance with divisions (A) and (B) of this section, and shall include in or with the plans the information required under division (E) of this section. The owner shall provide that information to the excavator.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Effective Date: 03-14-1989

3781.271 [Effective 3/27/2013] Modification of one-call notification system.

Beginning on July 1, 2013, each protection service shall reasonably modify its one-call notification system so as to permit the reasonable identification of the location of a proposed excavation site in a manner in which the protection service may then notify any potentially affected limited basis participants. Each member of a protection service, including limited basis participants, shall be responsible for providing current contact information to the protection service.

Added by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

3781.28 [Effective 3/27/2013] Excavator notifying protection service or pipeline owner

(A) Except as otherwise provided in divisions (C), (D), (E), and (F) of this section, at least forty-eight hours but not more than ten working days before commencing excavation, the excavator shall notify a protection service of the location of the excavation site and the date on which excavation is planned to commence.

(B) On receipt of notice under division (A) of this section, the protection service shall provide to each utility with underground utility facilities located at the excavation site, notice of the proposed excavation.

(C) In the case of an interstate hazardous liquids pipeline or interstate gas pipeline, the excavator shall comply with the special notice requirements of the public safety program of the owner of the pipeline as indicated in the plans or otherwise provided to the excavator in accordance with division (E) or (F)(2) of section 3781.27 of the Revised Code. 

(D) If it has been determined pursuant to division (D) of section 3781.27 of the Revised Code that relocation, support, removal, or protective steps are necessary, the excavator shall provide earlier notice to the utility in order to provide the utility with reasonable time to coordinate making the adjustments with actual excavation.

(E) If an excavation will cover a large area and will progress from one area to the next over a period of time, the excavator shall provide written notice of excavation with projected timelines for segments of the excavation as the excavation progresses in order to coordinate the marking of underground utility facilities with actual excavation schedules. Under such circumstances, the utility and excavator shall determine a mutually agreed upon marking schedule based on the project schedule. Once such a schedule is established, the marking and notification requirements set forth in division (A)(1) of section 3781.29 of the Revised Code shall not apply.

(F)

(1) In the case of a utility that is making an emergency repair to its own underground utility system or a governmental entity making an underground emergency repair to traffic control devices, as defined in section 4511.01 of the Revised Code, used on any street or highway under the entity’s jurisdiction, the utility or governmental entity shall notify a protection service and each limited basis participant of the excavation site. This notice need not occur before commencing excavation.

(2) In the case of an excavation at the site of real property of the type described in divisions (C)(1) to (4) of section 3781.25 of the Revised Code:

(a) If the owner of the property is the excavator, this section does not apply unless the excavation is planned for an area where a utility easement is located , a public right-of-way, or where utility facilities are known to serve the property.

(b) If the owner of the property employs an excavator, the excavator shall comply with the requirements of this section. If the owner did not employ a designer to make written plans, the excavator shall provide the notice required under this section to a protection service and to each utility that is a limited basis participant in a protection service that has underground utility facilities within the municipal corporation or township and county of the excavation site, as indicated by the protection service.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Effective Date: 07-02-1990

3781.29 [Effective 3/27/2013] Marking location of facilities or give notice of no facilities at site

(A)

(1) Except as otherwise provided in division (A)(2) of this section, within forty-eight hours of receiving notice under section 3781.28 of the Revised Code, each utility shall review the status of its facilities within the excavation site, locate and mark its underground utility facilities at the excavation site in such a manner as to indicate their course, and report the appropriate information to the protection service for its positive response system. If a utility does not mark its underground utility facilities or contact the excavator within that time, the utility is deemed to have given notice that it does not have any facilities at the excavation site. If the utility cannot accurately mark the facilities, the utility shall mark them to the best of its ability, notify the excavator using the positive response system that the markings may not be accurate, and provide additional guidance to the excavator in locating the facilities as needed during the excavation.

(2) In the case of an interstate hazardous liquids pipeline or an interstate gas pipeline, the owner of the pipeline shall locate and mark its pipeline within the time frame established in the public safety program of the owner.

(B) Unless a facility actually is uncovered or probed by the utility or excavator, any indications of the depth of the facility shall be treated as estimates only.

(C)

(1) Except as provided in division (C)(2) of this section, a utility shall mark its underground facilities using the following color codes:

Type of Underground

Utility Facility

Color

Electric power transmission and distribution

Safety red

Gas transmission and distribution

High visibility safety yellow

Oil transmission and distribution

High visibility safety yellow

Dangerous materials, product lines, and steam lines

High visibility safety yellow

Telephone and telegraph systems

Safety alert orange

Police and fire communications

Safety alert orange

Cable television

Safety alert orange

Water systems

Safety precaution blue

Slurry systems

Safety precaution purple

Sewer lines

Safety green

(2) All underground facilities shall be marked in accordance with the Ohio universal marking standards that are on file with the Ohio utilities protection service. Industry representatives serving on Ohio damage prevention councils shall review the marking standards every two years.

(D) Except as otherwise provided in divisions (E) and (F) of this section, prior to notifying a protection service of the proposed excavation, an excavator shall define and premark the approximate location. Proposed construction or excavation markings shall be made in white through the use of an industry-recognized method such as chalk-based paint, flags, stakes, or other method applicable to the specific site and when possible shall indicate the excavator’s identity by name, abbreviation, or initial.

(E)

(1) Before beginning an emergency excavation, or as soon as possible thereafter, an excavator shall make every effort to notify a protection service of the excavation. In providing notification, the excavator shall provide, at a minimum:

(a) The name of the individual notifying the protection service;

(b) The name, address, any electronic mail address, and any telephone and facsimile numbers of the excavator;

(c) The specific location of the excavation site; 

(d) A description of the excavation.

(2) Upon receiving the information set forth in division (E)(1) of this section, the protection service shall provide the excavator with a reference number and a list of utilities that the protection service intends to notify. The protection service shall immediately notify each utility that according to the registration information provided under section 3781.26 of the Revised Code has facilities located within the designated area of the emergency excavation.

(3) Any utility notified of an emergency excavation may inspect all of its underground utility facilities located at the emergency excavation site and may take any otherwise lawful action it considers necessary to prevent disturbance to or interference with its facilities during excavation.

(F) An excavator is not required to premark the approximate location of an excavation as provided in division (D) of this section in any of the following situations:

(1) The utility can determine the precise location, direction, size, and length of the proposed excavation site by referring to the notification provided by the protection service pursuant to sections 3781.27 and 3781.28 of the Revised Code.

(2) The excavator and the affected utility have had an on-site, preconstruction meeting for the purpose of premarking the excavation site.

(3) The excavation involves replacing a pole that is within five feet of the location of an existing pole.

(4) Premarking by the excavator would clearly interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic control.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Effective Date: 07-02-1990

3781.30 [Effective 3/27/2013] Duties of excavator

(A) When making excavations using traditional or trenchless technologies, the excavator shall do all of the following:

(1) Maintain reasonable clearance between any underground facility and the cutting edge or point of powered equipment;

(2) Protect and preserve the markings of tolerance zones of underground utility facilities until those markings are no longer required for proper and safe excavations;

(3) When approaching and excavating within the tolerance zone of underground utility facilities with powered equipment, require an individual other than the equipment operator, to visually monitor the excavation activity for any indication of the underground utility facility;

(4) Conduct the excavation within the tolerance zone of underground utility facilities in a careful , prudent, and nondestructive manner, when necessary, in order to prevent damage;

(5) Excavate up to the total depth of the excavation to either determine the precise location of underground utility facilities or verify that the total depth of excavation is free of such facilities;

(6) As soon as any damage is discovered, including gouges, dents, or breaks to coatings, cable sheathes, and cathodic protection anodes or wiring, report the type and location of the damage to the utility and permit the utility a reasonable amount of time to make necessary repairs;

(7) Immediately report to the utility, the protection service, and, if necessary, to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and fire departments by calling 9-1-1, any damage to an underground utility facility that results in escaping flammable, corrosive, explosive, or toxic liquids or gas, and take reasonable appropriate actions needed to protect persons and property and to minimize safety hazards until those agencies and departments and the utility arrive at the scene.

(B) When utilizing trenchless excavation methods, the excavator must comply with the following requirements, in a manner consistent with division (A) of this section:

(1) Expose and confirm all underground utility facilities at each crossing point by the proposed excavation in a nondestructive manner to the installation depth of the new facility;

(2) Expose all parallel underground utility facilities in a nondestructive manner at the beginning and end of each trenchless excavation to the installation depth of the new facility. If the proposed alignment is within the tolerance zone of any parallel underground utility facility, the underground utility facility shall be exposed every one hundred feet.

(3) Ensure that the final product installation maintains the proper clearances of existing underground utility facilities as determined pursuant to division (E)(4) of section 3781.27 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Effective Date: 03-14-1989

3781.31 [Effective 3/27/2013] Notifying of commencement of excavation or of removal of markings

(A) When a utility marks its underground utility facilities in accordance with section 3781.29 of the Revised Code, the utility may request that the excavator provide prior notice to the utility of the actual commencement of the excavation. An excavator that receives a request for notice under this division shall provide the notice to the utility at least one full working day prior to the commencement of excavation. The excavator may make this notice by telephone.

(B) If the markings of underground utility facilities made under section 3781.29 of the Revised Code are destroyed or removed before excavation is completed, the excavator shall notify the utility through the protection service that the markings have been destroyed or removed, and the utility shall remark the facilities in accordance with section 3781.29 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Effective Date: 03-14-1989

3781.32 [Effective 3/27/2013] Connections or tie-ins within right-of-way

(A) Any connections or tie-ins to existing utility services within a public right-of-way shall comply with permit requirements of the public authority that has jurisdiction over that right-of-way.

(B) A developer or the designer employed by the developer shall not require, as a condition for entering into a contract for a project that will require excavation, that responsibility for performance of duties imposed under sections 3781.25 to 3781.32 of the Revised Code shall be assumed by a person other than the person on whom those duties are imposed under those sections. This division does not prohibit a utility from entering into any contract for the performance of duties that are imposed on a utility under those sections.

(C) Nothing in sections 3728.25 to 3728.32 of the Revised Code shall be construed to require a utility to relocate its underground utility facilities located at an excavation site. 

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 198, HB 458, § 1, eff. 3/27/2013.

Effective Date: 03-14-1989

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