ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
The Time I Notify Alabama 811, How Long Do I Have To Wait To Excavate?
State law requires
that you must wait two working days after notification is made to allow
time for the locate request to be acted upon. For example, if notification
is made on Monday at 8:00 a.m., your excavation could begin on Wednesday
at 8:00 a.m.
When the CSR takes
the locate request, the excavator will be informed of the legal work
date when the utility lines should be marked.
However, if after
that two working day notice has expired, we suggest you check to ensure
that all visible signs of potentially buried utilities indicate that
all lines have been marked. If there are signs of buried facilities
that have not been located, we suggest that you initiate a second call
back to AL 811 so that the locate request can be sent back out to the
member facility owners letting them know that all lines have not been
marked. As part of this second notice to the utilities, they should
respond and have the site located as soon as possible. This is for your
own safety and protection as well as the protection of the buried facility.
I Have An Emergency. Can I Call In An Emergency Request?
Under Alabama Act 94-487, an emergency is defined as a threate to life, health, property or public service. In the case of an emergency, an excavator may excavate as needed to minimize any pending threat, but should notify the utilities as soon as possible before commencing any major repairs. Normally emergencies are considered to need responded to as soon as the utilities are able to have someone dispatched to the site.
I Need To Maintain Documentation At The Excavation Site?
It is recommended
that you maintain a copy of your locate request number assigned to your
particular job on the jobsite itself. This will help if you should need
to call back to AL 811 to allow for a quicker response in determining the
correct locate request to re-process. Also, in the case of a utility
owner or law officer coming to the site to investigate any excavation
activity, this reference number will be your documentation of compliance
with Alabama's law.
Long Are The Locate Marks Good For?
All locate marks
are good for ten (10) working days. If marks need to be refreshed,
call AL 811 at least two business days before the 10 working day period
has expired. To speed up the process, have your ticket number available
when making the call.
When placing your
locate request, the CSR will provide you the dates that the marks should
be good through and the date that the locate request will need to be
update to ensure you are excavating under a valid locate request per
Do I Need To Keep AL 811 Ticket Number?
It is official
documentation that a call was made in case of damage or controversy.
The ticket number is also important to have if an excavator needs to
call back to have marks refreshed or if locates for a particular job
have not been furnished.
Am A Professional Excavator And I'm Working For A Homeowner On Private
Property. Do I Have To Call For A Locate Request Or Can A Homeowner Call?
AL 811 will accept information from a homeowner, but state law requires
that every excavator planning on moving any earth or doing any digging
call in a locate request themselves to avoid damages and any penalties
and fines as outlined in the law.
Facility Owners Be Fined For Not Locating In The Appropriate Amount Of
Underground Damage Prevention Act currently has civil penalties that
can be enacted on both excavators and facility owner for non- compliance
with the law.
I Call AL 811 For A Locate Request, The CSR Reads A List Of Utilities That
AL 811 Will Notify. The CSR Then Instructs Me To Notify Any Non-Members
On My Own. Why Do I Have To Make Those Additional Calls?
Alabama's law does
not currently require mandatory membership in Alabama 811. Underground
facility owners are given the option to either participate in AL 811 or
have an in-house program that meets some of the same operational requirements
as are placed on AL 811.
However, excavators are required to notify all underground facility
owners 2 working days prior to start of excavation, whether they are
or are not members of AL 811.
AL 811 does not
provide a list of non-members for the excavator to contact because there
is no requirement on non-member to supply us with information as to
where their facilities are located. Therefore, AL 811 is not able to
determine exactly which non-members may be affected at your excavation
Many times, the
utilities in a specific area will be listed on some sort of marking
in the easement or right-of-way; simply comparing the listing of member
operators given by the customer service representative to any markings
posted in your proposed excavation area will, in most cases, be a safe
way to acquire non-member contacts. However, your proposed excavation
site may be away from any permanently marked right-of-way, you may need
to contact a local city official to obtain more information of any utilities
in your area.
I'm A General Contractor And I Have Several Subcontractors Working For
Me, Can I Call In All The Locates For My Subcontractors?
Alabama's law required
that the person doing the work should call in the locate request. However
it does not directly address the situation of general and sub contractors.
Where the liability would lie in the case of damaged would be determined
through a legal proceeding, unless any contractual agreement specified
the responsible party.
Utility Line Runs Through My Proposed Excavation Area. What Should I Do?
The law requires
excavators to observe an eighteen (18) inch safety or tolerance zone
- eighteen inches on each side of a marked utility line. While digging
inside the safety zone proceed cautiously with non-invasive equipment.
If you encounter a rigid object, carefully clear away the soil to determine
what you've reached. Do not use you hands to clear away the soil. For
maximum safety, use an insulated object.
Have Installed An Electrical Line To A Garage Or Other Fixture In My Yard.
Will That Line Be Marked?
No. The utilities
only mark their lines. Any additional utility lines are the responsibility
of the homeowner.
Was Digging And Hit An Underground Line Without Breaking It. What Should
If any contact
with or damage to any pipe, cable, or its protective covering, or any
other underground facility occurs, the excavator causing the contact
or damage shall cease excavation and immediately notify AL 811 and the
facility owner. AL 811 will notify the facility owner(s) (in addition to
the excavator notifying the owner) if the facility damage could impact
the general public in dealing with hazardous materials or volatile or
dangerous facilities like electric or gas. It's up the excavator to
notify all appropriate emergency response entities. It's important to
notify AL 811 when a facility becomes exposed, impacted, changed or modified
to ensure that prior to burial of that facility it is restored and in
good condition. Several disasters around the nation have occurred because
minor nicks, cuts or scrapes to facilities were not reported. It might
not appear to be important at the time, but as years go by and as a
facility deteriorates, a catastrophe can happen.
We suggest you
also contact the utility owner directly because often, due to additional
requirements on their industry, they need additional information beyond
just to locate site.
I Call For Locates, Why Do The CSRs Ask If I'm Going To Be Using Explosives?
law requires that a locate request provide information as to whether
any explosives, or blasting, will done at the site. Some utility owners
must make additional procedural responses for any explosive work done
near their facilities to ensure their integrity.
Is Directional Boring, And Why Am I Asked About This On Every Ticket Processed?
is becoming a widely used technique for the installation of underground
facilities. Although it's an effective tool that saves time and money,
its techniques can increase the potential for damages to existing underground
facilities. Our members have indicated to us that they would like to
know when anyone is using directional boring or any time of boring in
their service area.
Is A Facility Owner Required To Be On Site When I Excavate?
Some facility owners
and operators may require that they be on site to assist you, especially
if you're crossing, paralleling or are in close proximity to their facility.
Each facility owner has its own set of guidelines and procedures, and
their goal is to protect their own utilities. AL 811 promotes working together
and communicating to prevent damages.
Lived In This Area All My Life. I Know Where All The Facilities Are. Do
I Still Have To Call For Locates?
Yes. Anyone that
moves earth in anyway must call. Damages can still occur and facilities
can be cut even if you think you know where the facilities are. It's
a public safety issue for not only those that a service interruption
might affect, but also for those doing the work. You may be subject
to penalties and fines as outlined in Alabama law. Remember, there is
the potential for up to $10,000 fine for not complying with Alabama's
Underground Damage Prevention Act.
Do The Penalties And Fines Apply To?
Penalties and fines
apply to excavators and underground facility owners. The only exemptions are defined in the law regarding types of work activities.
Is Responsible For Maintaining The Markings At The Excavation Site?
is responsible for protecting and preserving the stakes and markings
or other designations until they are no longer necessary. If the marks
are destroyed, call AL 811 back for the utilities to come back out to remark.
You Call AL 811 And Damage A Facility, Are There Penalties And Fines?
Penalties and fines
only apply for non-compliance. You must call AL 811 prior to excavation.
However, when damage occurs to an underground facility and it's marked
correctly, the excavator will be responsible for the damage and the
restoration of that facility. Remember, you cannot commence excavation
until the facilities are properly located; calling AL 811 is not enough.
I Need To Pre-Mark My Excavation Sites?
save you time and money, because the locators will know exactly where
you want them to locate. AL 811 supports the use of "white lining"
or pre-marking of all excavation areas when appropriate. However, this
does not alleviate the responsibility of excavators requesting notifications
to provide appropriate information, exact measurements and a specific
description of the proposed excavation area.
Can Impose The Penalties And Fines?
Any aggrieved party
(owner, operator, excavator, homeowner, district attorney, or attorney
general) can pursue collection of a penalty or fine. Alabama law states
that "prosecution of violations of this act shall be by district
attorney or the attorney general and shall be brought in the circuit
court for the county in which the violation, or some part thereof, arose
or in the circuit court for the county in which the defendant resides
or maintains his principal place of business within the state."
Dig Site Is Marked With Different Colored Lines And/Or Flags. What Do
These Colors Mean?
follow the standard for color coding their facilities as established by the American Public Works Association.
Call Alabama 811 Frequently. Can I Fax Or E-Mail A Request To Alabama 811 Or Submit One On-Line through the internet?
We are now training
interested companies on our Web Portal program. This allows contractors to enter in their requests through
the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information click on the link above or the direct link from
the home page. There is even a tutorial you can watch from the homepage.
We no longer accept locate requests via fax.
Terminology Do The Utilities And AL 811 Use To Describe The Area To Be Marked?
The following are
explanations of important terms used by AL 811. The correct use of these
terms will insure the accurate marking of your proposed excavation site:
- Front: From the
front of the house/property forward to the curb.
- Rear: From the
back of the house/property back to the rear property line.
- Side: From the
side of the house/property out to the side property line.
- Both sides of
the road: You must specify what part of the lot you want marked on both
sides of the road. For example "Mark the front of the lots on both
sides of the street." This does not include any of the road. You
must specify the road area to have it marked.
Required To Belong To AL 811?
Any person or firm,
including public utilities, governmental agency, political subdivisions
or other persons who own or operate a public or private underground
facility which furnishes services, information or materials, or transports
or transmits electric energy, light, water, steam oil, gasses, gas,
mixture of gases, petroleum, petroleum products, hazardous or flammable
liquids, toxic or corrosive fluids and gases or items of like nature
and telecommunications, cable television, water, drainage, sewage and
traffic control systems or other systems of like nature.
law does not include mandatory membership in AL 811. Underground facility
owners have the option to participate in AL 811 or have an in-house program
that meets designated requirements as defined in the law.
The Types Of Memberships AL 811 Offers And The Costs Involved?
AL 811 has four type
of Memberships; Principal, General, Associate and Supporting.
Principal and General members are defined in the by-laws as "Any
entity which owns or operates a public or private underground facility
which furnishes services, information or materials, or transports or
transmits electric energy, light, water, steam, oil, gas, gases, mixture
of gases, petroleum, petroleum products, hazardous or flammable liquids,
toxic or corrosive fluids and gases or items of like nature and telecommunications,
cable television, water, drainage, sewage and traffic control systems
or other systems of like nature.”
pay a weighted portion of the Corporation’s annual invoiced revenues
and General members split the remainder of the annual invoiced revenues.
The revenues are calculated based on the proposed budget and the previous
year's transmissions for the members.
is defined in they by-laws as "any entity which is qualified to
do business in the State of Alabama and does business in the State of
Alabama and in doing so, as a contract locator or a contractor, furnishes
goods or services to a Principal or General Member; or, any entity which
wishes to receive notifications of certain proposed excavation activities
and also shares the concerns and promotes the objectives of the Corporation
for the protection of the general public, excavators and underground
facilities. Associate members pay a flat per transmission rate as determined
by the Board of Directors.
is defined in the by-laws as "any entity which is qualified to
do business in the State of Alabama and does business in the State of
Alabama and which does within the course and scope of its activities
furnish goods, services, information or advice to a Principal, General
or Associate Member; or to any person, firm, business entity, governmental
agency or political subdivision availing itself of the services of the
Corporation and also shares the concerns and promotes the objectives
of the Corporation for the protection of the general public, excavators
and underground facilities. Supporting members pay a flat $100 per year
Are My Responsibilities As A Member Of AL 811?
Each member must
provide AL 811 with the location of all their underground utilities as
required under the current operating procedures of AL 811. For every locate
requested, you should use reasonable care to either mark your facility
or communicate to the excavator the non-existence of your facility in
the proposed excavation area. The facility must be marked according
to the color code as outlined in Alabama's law.
Alabama's Law Require Positive Response Back To The Excavators Stating
The Site Has Been Located?
No, Alabama's current
legislation does not require positive response back to the excavator
letting them know that your lines have been located or that you are
not affected. The way our current law is written, a mark on the ground
is a positive response.
The only area that
our law addresses positive response can be found in §37-15-6 (a)
(3) that states that if an excavator comes across a facility that was
not previously located, that he must initiate a call back to the one
call center and the utilities are required to respond within four (4)
hours and provide positive response relative to any of their known underground
facilities, active or abandoned, at the site of excavation.
I Need To Provide Information For Engineering, Survey Or Design Locates?
Alabama's law was revised in January 2015 and not specifically addresses requests for utility marking for survey and design purpose. These requests should be designated for that type of work. No excavation can be performed on a design/survey request. These requests have a five (5) working day response time. Utilities have an option to respond with 1) physical markings at the site 2) provide copies of their utility maps or 3) provide access to view their utility maps.
A Member Operator, I Receive An Extremely Large Number Of Locate Requests.
What Compliance Issues do I Face When I Can't Complete All Of The Locates
In The Proper Amount Of Time?
Alabama law does
not provide for any exceptions to the requirements related to locate
requests. The facility owner should work and communicate with the excavator
to provide the location of their facilities in a timely manner in spite
of a large number of locate requests. On large projects or stretches,
the law does allow for working agreements to ensure that the facilities
are located in conjunction when the excavation work should reach a specified
However, there is a penalty provision for renewing tickets if work is not being conducted on those site. This is to discouraged requests continually being updated when no work is being performed.
Facility Owners Have To Mark Their Abandoned Facilities?
Alabama's law does
not exclude marking abandoned facilities. It is recommended that you
do mark these facilities to ensure that an abandoned facility is not exposed indicating the
false location of existing facilities to the excavator at the job site.
Am A Facility Owner. I Have Received A Request For A Locate Directly From
An Excavator. Should I Assume This Is The Same As Receiving A Locate Request
From AL 811?
Because the law
currently allows for excavators to notify utility companies directly,
this can be done. However, we suggest that you refer them back to us
so that your records of locates is complete and are documented consistently
for both you and the excavators. Plus, that is the service that we are
to provide for you so no need to do it for yourself.
An Owner/Operator, Am I Required To Provide Maps And/Or Sketches To Excavators?
Maps and sketches
are not required but are extremely useful. AL 811 encourages facility owners
to provide maps, sketches, diagrams, etc., to excavators. Additional
information can help prevent damages in cases where marks are destroyed,
and can serve as a crosscheck for facilities that may be marked incorrectly.
I Have To Mark Water And/Or Sewer Lines?
cables and lines in public access areas should be marked before any
type of excavation activity can begin. This includes alleys, streets,
etc. Some water/sewer companies do not locate the lateral (i.e. service)
lines from the sewer main or water meter on the street to the home.
Others may provide a courtesy locate but will not accept liability for
such locates. The lateral lines, which are owned by the homeowner, can
be located by referring to the home's blue print, requesting prints
from the water/sewer company, or may be marked by a private locator.
AL 811 encourages all members to locate facilities on public or private
property for the safety of the excavator, general public and the environment.