The largest cause of damage to pipelines, or other underground facilities including electric lines, telecommunication or cable wires, is excavation. In every state, any excavator, whether landscaping, building fences, or a major construction project, must make a call to a state One-Call center prior to beginning any excavation activities.
If you are planning to excavate, call your local One-Call center at least two days prior to beginning excavation by simply dialing 8-1-1. Once the One-Call center is notified, pipeline operators, and other underground facility operators will determine and mark the exact location of a pipeline within the planned digging area.
|Contact the One-Call notification center by dialing 8-1-1. If the damage results in an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
In Texas, those excavating near a pipeline must follow additional safety requirements implemented by the Texas Railroad Commission. The requirements are the steps an excavator must take before digging or excavating. If the steps are not followed, an excavator is subject to fines and penalties by the Railroad Commission.
When excavating in Texas, you must follow the steps outlined below which summarize the state law. To read a complete version of Chapter 18 of the Railroad Commission Rules, click here.
Know the law, always call before you dig and follow these steps:
- Prior to calling your local One-Call center, you must whiteline the area of the excavation if the project area cannot be accurately described to the One-Call center. White-lining the area of excavation requires the excavator to place a white-line with spray-paint or flags around the area of excavation.
- Notify One-Call center by dialing 8-1-1 at least 48 hours, but not more than 14 days prior to the date of excavation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal Federal and Texas holidays (see Texas Government Code §662.003 for a list of the Texas holidays)
- When calling a One-Call notification center the excavator must provide:
- Your name
- Telephone number of the person calling
- The location of the proposed excavation (street address or description)
- The name, address and number of the excavator
- The excavator's telephone number
- If available, a fax number, e-mail or other electronic number to which an operator may send the required positive response
- The start date and time and the anticipated completion date of excavation
- A statement as to whether explosives will be used and the method an excavator will receive positive response.
- You must wait at least 48 hours, not including Saturday, Sunday or holidays before beginning an excavation.
- If a pipeline operator wants to be present during excavation, you must contact the operator and notify them of any change during in the excavation start time.
- You must confirm that a copy of a valid locate ticket is available, and can be provided, if requested by the Texas Railroad Commission, within one hour.
- You must verify that the address on the locate ticket is correct and the white-lining is correct, if applicable, in addition to making a visual check for any unmarked pipelines before beginning excavation.
- You may begin an excavation when you have received a positive response that all lines have been marked or received a confirmation that no facilities are present from all operators in the area who were notified of the excavation.
- If you:
- Have knowledge of the existence of an underground pipeline that has received an "all clear" or "no conflict"
- Observe clear evidence of an unmarked underground pipeline for which there has been no positive response or,
- Receive a positive response that is unclear or erroneous
Then, you must make a second call to a notification center and wait four hours before excavation may begin.
During the excavation, you must:
- Preserve markings left by the pipeline operator during excavation activities
- Plan excavation in a manner as to avoid damage, minimize interference, and protect underground pipelines.
- Exercise reasonable care when excavating in a tolerance zone.
- If you do not complete your project within 14 days, you must call the One-Call center (just dial 8-1-1) and request the markings be refreshed for only the area yet to be excavated.
- If you damage a pipeline, immediately, but no later than two hours, contact the pipeline owner. If you do not know who the owner of the pipeline or other underground facility is, contact the One-Call notification center by dialing 8-1-1. If the damage results in an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
If damage occurs, you must also:
- Delay backfilling until the damage is reported to the operator and a repair schedule is mutually agreed and/or the operator's approval.
- Keep ignition sources away from the area
You are required to make a report to Texas Railroad Commission within 10 days when:
- A pipeline operator fails to provide a positive you a response to a first or second call to a notification center
- Any damage occurs to a pipeline (in addition to immediately notifying the pipeline operator)
The Texas Damage Reporting Form, may be accessed by clicking here.
- Retain required records (specifically locate tickets and positive response records) for at least four years.