- Report Published -
|A Task Force Study to Determine the Operation and Effectiveness of § 56-265.17:1 and § 56-265.19 G of the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act|
|State Corporation Commission|
|Chapter Chapter 841 Enactment Clause 2. (Regular Session, 2002)|
|The 2002 Session of the General Assembly amended the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act ("Act") to provide procedures for designers to get underground utility information through the notification center, if the designers so choose (§§ 56-265.17:1 through 56-265.17:3 of the Code). The Task Force appointed by the Commission studied the effectiveness of the Act relative to this issue but could not reach consensus on a recommendation to amend the Act to require designers to obtain information regarding existing underground utility lines in the design stage of their projects. The majority of the Task Force members voted for minor amendments to §§ 56-265.17:1 and 56-265.17:3 of the Code.|
Information regarding abandoned utility lines provided to the excavators can prevent damage to the active lines. As a result, during the 2002 Session of the General Assembly the Act was amended to require operators of underground utility lines to keep records of their abandoned lines. The Act further stated that operators may provide a response to the notification center if the operators have knowledge of the presence of abandoned lines in the excavation area. With this knowledge, the excavators would know that, even after locating and protecting a marked underground utility line, another potentially active line may be in the excavation area. The excavator would proceed with caution until the second line is carefully located. The Task Force considered whether the requirements of subsection G of § 56-265.19 of the Code should become mandatory. To further improve Virginia's underground utility damage prevention program, the majority of the Task Force members believe that the requirements of subsection G of § 56-265.19 of the Code should become mandatory.
The Task Force also recommended that the Commission's damage prevention training program established in accordance with § 56-265.32 B of the Code be expanded to include an education/outreach program for the designers doing business in the Commonwealth. The goal of this program would be to encourage the designers to use the existing process to get underground utility line information for consideration in their design work and help reduce damage to underground utility lines.