MNLA advises its members to remember the following:
Anytime you are going to dig anywhere in a landscape, CALL BEFORE YOU DIG. 811 is the easiest to remember, but you can also use these numbers to connect more directly. Emergency Tickets: 866-640-3637; Twin Cities Metro: 651-454-0002; Greater MN Area: 800-252-1166. Call Gopher State One Call at least 48 hours in advance of anticipated excavation. In the busy spring season, be aware that experience has shown that it can take even longer for markings to occur. You have 96 hours (4 days) to begin digging after the markings are placed. (Both the 48-hour rule and 96-hour rule exclude Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.)
After markings have been made, excavators are required to maintain a minimum horizontal (side to side) clearance of two feet (24 inches) between an unexposed facility and the cutting edge or point of any power operated excavating or earth-moving equipment. For example, if the markings indicate a 6” pipe is buried, the hand dig zone is 54” wide (6” + 24” on each side of the mark). If excavation is required within the hand dig zone, the excavation must be performed very carefully, with vacuum excavation or hand tools, and without damage to the facility or undermining lateral support. Remember that facility depths may vary due to installation practices, changes in the grade, erosion and other variables.
In the course of digging, if you expose a utility line, it is your responsibility to inspect and support the facilities before backfilling. If you damage the utility line, it is your responsibility to immediately notify the utility owner directly.
For a Professional Excavators Manual, call 651-454-8388 (do not call this number for locates) or see the website www.gopherstateonecall.org. Once at the website, click on “site map” in the lower right corner; in the “select-a-link” section, choose “Professional Excavators Manual;” and then click on the picture for the table of contents.
What Does NOT Get Marked
Some buried facilities in your work area may not be owned by an underground facility operator required to register with GSOC. These are considered private facilities and will NOT be marked. Inspect your job site prior to entering a ticket to determine where private facilities may be buried. Investigate who may have installed them and determine if any records or maps exist. Suggest that the property owner hire a private facility locator.
MNLA also reminds members of the following information:
Gopher State One Call has a free mobile app, which offers quick access to many of Gopher State One Call’s resources from a smartphone or tablet, whether you’re at the office or working at a job site. The app is available for both Apple and Android devices. To download the free GSOC app, visit the Apple App Store or Google Play and search for “GSOC” or “Gopher State One Call”.
Minnesota Statutes section 326B.35 clearly identifies that communication utility work is covered by the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC). “Communication utility work” includes burial of telephone and cable TV lines. (Source: Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry Construction Codes and Licensing Division)
National Electrical Safety Code table 352-1 requires communication cables to be installed at a 24" burial depth. A lesser depth is allowed if the cable is provided with supplemental protection.
If you cut a communications line during routine lawn work such as aeration, or if you have followed ALL of the utility marking procedures required, yet inadvertently cut a communications line that has not been properly buried, it may be a reasonable business practice to bill the offending utility for any inconvenience caused to you or your customer.
Remember, follow the rules and call before you dig!