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Frequently Asked Questions

 

The list below is some of our most frequently asked questions. If you would like further explanation please feel free to call us at 8-1-1 or 1-800-362-2764, email us your question to iteam@oups.org or refer to the Ohio Revised Code.


You should always call before any, type of excavation, regardless of depth. An excavation is the use of tools, power 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. Ohio Revised Code: 3781.25 (I)
Re-markings are only necessary if:
The excavation did not commence within 10 days

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.28 (A)
The markings are destroyed or removed before excavation is completed, the excavator shall notify the utility that the markings have been destroyed or removed, and the utility shall remark the approximate locations within 48 hours of the notice.
Ohio Revised Code: 3781.31 Notice of actual commencement of excavation or of removal or markings

If the crew leaves the job site for any number of consecutive days, for safety purposes it is recommended that the lines be remarked before any additional excavation commences.

Yes, it is the law to call before digging even if you need to call for private markings also.

The excavator shall notify the protection service of the location of the excavation site and the date on which the excavation is planned to commence.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.28

ORC Sec. 3781.28.(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. 

*Please note that the Ohio Revised Code defines excavator as “the person or persons responsible for making the actual excavation” (ORC Sec. 3781.25 (K)). Therefore, while O.U.P.S. will not refuse a ticket from any caller, we advise the actual excavator place the call to O.U.P.S., receive their own ticket number and wait the required 48 hours in order to be compliant with Ohio law.*

You should call at least 48 hours but no more than 10 working days, excluding weekends and legal holidays before commencing excavation. 

At least forty 48 hours but not more than ten days before commencing excavation, the excavator shall notify the protection service of the location of the excavation site and the date on which the excavation is planned to commence. 

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.28

There is no fee for the utility companies to mark their lines. However, if you have privately owned lines and the utility company does not mark them, then it would be your responsibility to have those lines marked and you would need to contract a locating service to do so. The charges for locating services differ.
O.U.P.S. itself does not locate or mark underground facilities. Locating and marking of facilities is the responsibility of the utility owners.
Each utility shall locate and mark the approximate location of its underground utility facilities at the excavation site. However, some utility companies use contract locating services which will mark the utility’s facilities for them.

O.U.P.S. is a notification center and not a line locating service.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.29

Yes, it is the law to call before digging even if you need to call for private markings also.

The excavator shall notify the protection service of the location of the excavation site and the date on which the excavation is planned to commence.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.28

There is no need for you to be present during the markings unless you have a specific question for the locator or if you need to grant them access to your property.

It is recommended that excavators mark their proposed excavation site in white to assist the locators marking the intended dig area.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.29 (D)

In addition to seeing flags or paint marking the lines, some utility companies will use Positive Response which is included in the new legislation which became effective March 27, 2013.

Positive response is a closing of the communication loop. It allows each facility owner to communicate to the excavator the status of their one call ticket.

You can check the positive responses for your ticket at http://newtina.oups.org/newtinweb/ResponseDisplay.nas or by calling 800-445-3894.

Utility companies may also leave an "O.U.P.S. CARD" in your yard, informing you that they have been there. They may also contact you if they have any questions.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.26

Prior to notifying the protection service, the excavator is required to pre-mark the approximate location of the excavation in white. The excavator is exempt from pre-marking in the following situations:
If a precise location is given (address — what side of the property)

If the excavator and the affected utility have had an on-site pre construction meeting for the purpose of pre-marking the site.

Excavation involves replacing a pole that is within 5 feet of the existing location.

Pre-markings would clearly interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic control.
Ohio Revised Code: 3781.29

You can begin excavation after the required 48 hours notice and up to 10 days from the time of the call.
The 10 days begin on the date and time the ticket is called in and not the date you start digging. This does not include weekends or legal holidays.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.28 Excavator to notify service or pipeline owner

If a utility company does not mark its underground utility facilities or contact the excavator within 48-hours of receiving the notice under section 3781.28 of the Ohio Revised Code, the utility is deemed to have given notice that it does not have any facilities at the excavation site.

Some utility owners will use Positive Response which is included in the new legislation which became effective March 27, 2013.

Positive response is a closing of the communication loop. It allows each facility owner to communicate to the excavator the status of their one call ticket.

You can check the positive responses for your ticket at http://newtina.oups.org/newtinweb/ResponseDisplay.nas or by calling 800-445-3894.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.29, 3781.26

Each utility shall locate and mark the approximate location of its underground utility facilities at the excavation site. They may not mark service lines that were privately installed. It would be the property owner’s responsibility to have these lines located.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.29 (A)

There is no set required depth of underground lines in the state of Ohio. Lines may originally be buried at a particular depth, but due to erosion, and/or grading they may be more shallow or deep than the original placement. You can request the depth of the lines be put on your location and the utilities may give you an “estimated” depth if known.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.29 (B)

The tolerance zone, or approximate location, is "the site of the underground utility facility including the width of the underground utility facility plus eighteen inches (0.5m) on each side of the facility". If no width of the facility is given by the utility, you are to assume 2 inches. Any excavation within the tolerance zone should be conducted “in a careful and prudent manner, excavating by hand, if necessary, to determine the precise location of the facility to prevent damage.”

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.25 (D) and 3781.30 (C, D)

A design ticket is a request for the member companies to supply plans, telephone response or physical markings within ten (10) days from the time of call, of their underground facilities involvement to the given area. A design ticket number will be issued to the caller at that time and if physical markings have been requested a comment will be placed on that design ticket. 

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. 

If any type of excavation is being done at the time of the design ticket request, such as placing pins, the caller must also request an additional routine ticket, requesting markings for the 48 hours required by law. 

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.27 Developer to notify service of intended excavation; duties of utility and developer.

Emergency Excavation Notice Priorities

When a caller states they have an EMERGENCY NOTICE OF EXCAVATION, only the following criteria constitutes a true EMERGENCY, and should be prioritized as an EMERGENCY when the ticket is taken:

  • An unexpected occurrence that causes disruptions or damages to a facility requiring immediate repair or involves loss of or damage to life, health, property, or essential public services.
  • Any 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 Sec. 4511.01 Traffic laws of the Ohio Revised Code.

To constitute a true EMERGENCY, the excavation work must begin immediately which includes crew is onsite, enroute, or mobilizing.

If the CSR determines the callers information does not meet the definition of a true emergency, but the caller insists that it does (even after an explanation) the following comment must be added to the ticket:

  • CALLER STATES THIS IS AN EMERGENCY

The date/time the work will begin will be entered and the excavation notice will be transmitted as an Insufficient Notice not as an Emergency Notice.

Ohio Revised Code: 3781.25 (V)

 

 

About Us

A vital resource for Ohio residents and businesses, the Ohio Utilities Protection Service acts as a communication link between utility companies and individuals planning any digging activity. This site includes all the information you need to dig safely and protect your community.

 

 

 

Contact O.U.P.S.

Address: 4740 Belmont Ave, Youngstown, OH 44505

Phone: 1-800-362-2764

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