Excavators Manual


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Table of Contents

PREFACE

I. HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
II. TYPES OF LOCATE REQUESTS
III. METHODS OF REACHING IOC
IV. THE LOCATE REQUEST PROCESS
V. UTILITY RESPONSE PROCESS
VI. EXCAVATOR RESPONSIBILITIES DURING DIGGING
VII. THE IOWA UNDERGROUND UTILITY FACILITIES DAMAGE PREVENTION ACT

Promotional items are available upon request.

For information on items and prices, please call IOC at 563-884-7762 or 515-278-8700.

PREFACE

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This handbook should be used for informational and reference purposes only. It is not intended to be a full and complete statement of the law or of the excavator’s duties and responsibilities when engaging in excavation work.

Specific reference should be made to the Underground Facilities Information Act (Iowa Code, Chapter 480), which can be found here, for the duties and responsibilities it imposes on the excavator. Any further inquiries as to the duties and responsibilities of the excavator should be referred to your attorney.

The contents of this handbook are subject to change without notice. If you have any questions, please call IOC at 563-884-7762.

The Iowa Legislature has enacted statewide legislation “Underground Facilities Information” Chapter 480 of the Code of Iowa, which went in effect January 1, 1993.

I. HISTORY AND BACKGROUND

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Iowa One Call (IOC) was started in 1980 by Northwestern Bell (CenturyLink, until recently Qwest) and Iowa Illinois Gas & Electric (now MidAmerican Energy Co.) as a means to maintain the integrity of their utility systems. The service at that time was voluntary but since January 1, 1993, all owners and operators of underground facilities are required by state law to join IOC. Membership now exceeds 1,400.

IOC provides contractors/excavators, homeowners, and others who plan to disturb the earth, with a single toll-free number to call, and online ticket entry, for the locating and marking of these underground facilities.

IOC is not a utility. IOC owns no facilities and does not locate underground facilities. IOC receives requests for underground facility locates from excavators (persons and legal entities) planning projects that will entail excavating. IOC processes all requests for locates and then transmits the requests to the IOC member companies (all owners/operators of underground facilities are required to register with the Iowa One Call system) who own, operate or maintain underground facilities within the area of proposed excavation. Each underground facility operator is then responsible for locating and marking their own facilities. The service provided by Iowa One Call, and the locating and marking of underground facilities by underground facility operators, is free of charge to excavators. The IOC system is paid in full by IOC member companies.

The board of directors is elected by the membership of the organization and does not receive compensation for serving. An IOC annual report is filed with the Iowa Utility Board and is available for review. IOC meetings and records are subject to the State’s open meetings and records law. A certified audit is conducted yearly.

When do I use IOC?

Contact IOC anytime you plan to excavate. Whether it’s a small or a large construction or homeowner project (such as putting up a fence or clothes line, planting trees or shrubbery, landscaping, building a home addition, deck, foundation, or replacing a driveway or sidewalk, etc.) you must submit a locate request at least 48 hours (not counting weekends and/or legal holidays) prior to excavation. IOC will notify the owners/operators of underground facilities who are IOC members and who have facilities in the area of planned excavation, of this planned excavation activity.

Reasons Not to Contact IOC

The Iowa One Call service exists to provide notification service for utility location requests only. IOC should NOT be contacted for any of the following reasons:

  • To report any type of service outage due to weather conditions.
  • To report any excavation outside of the state of Iowa.
  • To resolve any type of utility billing problem.
  • To request any type of facility removal or relocation (including meter removals prior to demolition of a building).
  • To request initiation of any type of utility service.
  • To provide maps, plans or drawings of the proposed excavation.

Do all underground facility owners/members/operators participate in IOC?

No. While all underground facility owners/operators are required by state law to participate in the One Call system, there may be some non-compliant underground facility owners/operators who do not participate in IOC. Thus, all underground facilities may not be included in the location notification request. The IOC Customer Service Representative (CSR) will remind you of this fact after reading you the list of underground facility owners/operators to be notified. The CSR will advise you that if you know of any other utilities in the area you need to notify them yourself.

The Underground Facilities Information Act

The law requires persons planning excavations to contact the One Call system before excavating, and requires owner/operators of underground facilities to participate in the One Call system. This law, as amended, went into effect January 1, 1993. A copy of the law, as amended, is found here.

Underground facilities can be damaged or ruptured by an assortment of digging instruments; a small bend or dent can create problems months later. The ramifications of damaged equipment and interrupted service are serious. Loss of natural gas, telephone, water or electricity can leave communities without such vital services as police, fire and medical protection. When damaged, these vital services can endanger property and public safety- they can also be expensive and time consuming to repair.

There are generally three types of requests made from excavators to utility operators through IOC: regular locate requests, emergency locate requests, and notices of dig-ins (damage to facilities). In addition, IOC provides Joint Meet Locates, Design Information Requests and Design Locate Requests (click here for more information).

II. TYPES OF LOCATE REQUESTS

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What is a regular locate request?

A regular locate request is the most common type of request processed through IOC. It is made at least 48 hours (not counting weekends or legal holidays) in advance and involves a request for utility locates at a specific address or area for a specified dig start date. Please note: Iowa state law requires at least 48 hours (not counting weekends or holidays) advance notice, prior to routine excavation.

Locate requests are processed immediately and transmitted to participating operators of underground facilities.

What is an emergency locate request?

Chapter 480 of the Iowa Code defines an emergency as a condition where there is clear and immediate danger to life or health, or essential services, or a potentially significant loss of property.

  • An unforeseen excavation necessary in order to prevent a condition that poses a clear and immediate danger to life or health.
  • An excavation required to repair essential utility service outages.
  • An immediate excavation required in order to prevent significant property or environmental damage.
  • The repair of an existing unstable condition which may result in any of the conditions listed above (for example, a leak in any service or main, or a fault in a primary or secondary wire or cable).

When submitting an emergency excavation request, inform the Customer Service representative (CSR) that an emergency situation exists and be prepared to explain. The CSR will prepare a location request for immediate transmission and note your planned start time. It is essential to leave a phone number which will be answered by someone who can further explain the situation or accept a positive response notification.

If an underground facility operator does not respond in a reasonable amount of time, call the underground facility operator directly or IOC. IOC will send another request to the underground facility operator that has not responded.

What is a Joint Meet Locate?

A joint meet locate in Iowa will activate a locate ticket and is designed to allow the excavator to meet with representatives of the underground facility operators to exchange information on a normal job that the excavator is unable to describe to the IOC CSR. The One Call Center requires that the excavator provide sufficient information to fully identify the boundaries of the proposed work site, which includes the starting point and an ending point for the job and all information listed here.

Underground facility operators have been requested to call excavators if they have no facilities present or if they are unable to attend the joint meet locate. If any underground facility operator cannot make the joint meet request, it is the operator’s responsibility to contact the excavator to make other arrangements. It is important that operators and excavators cooperate with each other to accomplish their work in an efficient and coordinated manner. Excavators are encouraged to contact operators if a conflict arises that prevents the joint meet from occurring at the scheduled date and time.

What is a Design Information Request?

A Design Information Request provides professional designers with maps and drawings showing the location of underground facilities in a site of interest to the designer. This service is available to Professional Designers who have submitted an application and have had that application approved. When those qualifications are met, the designer will be issued a username and password providing access to a “designers only” website. There they will use an interactive mapping system to identify the site of their project. The computerized program will provide the designer with the names and contact information for all underground facilities within the proposed project area. It will be the designer’s responsibility to seek whatever information they need for their work from the facility owner/operators. The facility owner/operators and the designers will negotiate any fees involved. No tickets will be issued and no locates will be done under a Design Information Request. A Design Information Request will remain active for a maximum of two (2) years.

What is a Design Locate Request?

Qualified designers who have completed a Design Information Request can create a Design Locate Request after a minimum wait of ten (10) business days. The designer enters the designers only website and converts the Design Information Request to a Design Locate Request. The computer will map the area indicated as the project site and identify the underground facilities located in the site. The designer can reduce the size of the project site or stay with the original size. The designer can pick and choose the facilities to be located. By submitting this request, a Design Locate ticket (note that this is NOT a dig ticket) will be generated, directing owners/operators to locate and mark their facilities in the project site within five (5) working days. Click here to register to use the Design Request System.

III. METHODS OF REACHING IOWA ONE CALL

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The IOC toll-free phone number

You can reach IOC any time by calling 1-800-292-8989. IOC Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to process your locate request.

811 Three-Digit Dialing

As of April, 2007, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated the implementation of the national 811 Abbreviated Dialing System, which allows excavators (callers) anywhere in the country to reach their state’s One Call System via this easy to remember three-digit telephone number.

Now Iowa excavators can simply dial 811 to reach the Iowa One Call Notification System. The toll-free 1-800-292-8989 number will remain active.

Please be aware that there are certain peak periods when call volumes are traditionally the highest. Monday is the busiest day, and the busiest time to reach IOC is from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Therefore, it is suggested that excavators take advantage of the 24-hour service and call during non-peak calling periods.

Alternate Ticket Entry Programs

As of February 1, 2011, previous alternate ticket entry programs (the FAX-A-Locate system, the Internet-Based Input System (IBIS), and ONTRY) have been eliminated. ITIC, the new electronic ticket entry system, is a user-friendly internet-based application available for use by anyone planning an excavation. For more information, and to register for a username and password to use ITIC, please click here.

IOC Call Pad – Call 563-884-7762 or 515-278-8700 to order.

How do I use the IOC System?

When you contact IOC (either by phone or online), be prepared to convey the following information:

All requests to Iowa One Call for locates within a city must include the following information:

  • A street address or block and lot numbers, or both, of the proposed area of excavation.
  • The name and address of the excavator.
  • The excavator’s telephone number.
  • The type and extent of the proposed excavation.
  • Whether the discharge of explosives is anticipated.
  • The date and time when excavation is scheduled to begin.
  • Approximate location of the excavation on the property.
  • If known, the name of the housing development and property owner.

All requests to Iowa One Call for locates outside a city must include the following information:

  • The name of the county, township, range, and section.
  • The name and address of the excavator.
  • The excavator’s telephone number.
  • The type and extent of the proposed excavation.
  • Whether the discharge of explosives is anticipated.
  • The date and time when excavation is scheduled to begin.
  • Approximate location of the excavation on the property.
  • If known, the quarter section, E911 address and global positioning system coordinate, name of the property owner, name of housing development with street address or block and lot numbers, or both.

*If you need additional assistance, call the County Recorder’s office.

Location accuracy is important

One of the most common mistakes of excavators is when they identify their excavation location as within a city/town or municipality, when actually they are excavating in the township. This happens because the mailing address includes the name of the nearest city/town or municipality. Please determine whether your excavation site is in the city or unincorporated township area before you submit your request.

Rural location requests: Special Notes

When submitting a rural locate request, please provide as much information as possible. For example: on what side of the road will you be digging, name of the road, name of the nearest cross road to the address, and the name of the owner/renter at the location where you will be excavating. Give the direction of this address to the nearest town including the name of the road(s), and distance(s). Additional information helps: rural fire department number, pedestal number, transformer number, mileage marker or any other landmark that may be helpful in identifying the location.

IV. THE LOCATE REQUEST PROCESS

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Definitions of Marking Terms

The following definitions can be utilized to help describe the area to be marked.

A. Center Lane(s) – In a four lane street, the two lanes at the center of the pavement.


B. Cul de Sac Street – A local street open at one end with a special provision for turning around.


C. Culvert – (not pictured) Any pipe or structure under a roadway/driveway to facilitate drainage of surface water.
D. Curb Lane(s) – Traffic or parking lane immediately adjacent to the curb.
E. Curb to Curb – The paved area of a road right-of-way between the two curblines.
F. Curb to Property Line – The area between the curb and the front property line including terrace and/or sidewalk.
G. Curbline – The point where the curb meets the edge of the street pavement.


H. Easement – (not pictured) A right to use or control the property of another for designated purposes.
I. Frontage Road – A local street or road auxiliary to and located on the side of an arterial highway for service to abutting property and adjacent areas and for control of access.


J. Front Lot Line – (Same as street right-of-way line.) The property line adjacent to the street right-of-way.
K. Highway – A public way for purpose of vehicular travel, including the entire area within the highway right-of-way.
L. Intersection – The general area where two or more highways join or cross, within which are included the roadway and roadside facilities for traffic movement in that area.
M. Interchange – (not pictured) A system of interconnecting roadways in conjunction with one or more grade separations providing for the movement of traffic between two or more roadways on different levels.
N. Long Side – Indicates excavations on both sides of the pavement with probable bore of pavement.


O. Lot Line – A line marking the legal limits of an individual’s property.
P. Lot Line to Lot Line – The area between the two side lot lines on private property, or the entire road right-of-way. See (W)
Q. Median – The portion of a divided highway separating the traveled ways for traffic in opposite directions.
R. Near Side – see Short Side (BB)
S. On Side – see Short Side (BB)
T. Parkway – The area between the edge of pavement and the sidewalk or property line if no sidewalk exists.
U. Property Line – see Lot Line (O)
V. Rear Lot Line(s) – Property lot line at the rear of the lot (area opposite street) that connects the two side lot lines.


W. Right-of-Way – Dedicated street area bounded by two generally parallel lines called right-of-way lines. Another name for these lines is front property lines.
X. Road – (not pictured) Highway in rural area.
Y. Road Bore – see Long Side (N)
Z. Roadside – A general term denoting the area adjoining the outer edge of the roadway. Extensive areas between the roadways of a divided highway may also be considered roadside.
AA. Roadway – The portion of a highway, including shoulders, for vehicular use.


BB. Short Side – The excavation to take place on same side of the road as the address listed.
CC. Shoulder – The edge of a road (generally gravel) between normal traffic lanes and grass areas. The term normally used in areas where there is no curb.
DD. Side Lot Line(s) – The two property lines which normally extend away from the street right-of-way at approximately 90-degree angles.


EE. Street – (not pictured) Highway in an urban area.
FF. Terrace – see Parkway (T)

What is a Dig Ticket?

A dig ticket identifies the specific location request you had processed. It contains all of the information about your locate request from start to finish, along with the underground facility operator(s) receiving the request. It is important that you write this number down and keep it with your records. IOC keeps this information on record for six years.

How Long is a Locate Request Good For?

A locate request is good for as long as the markings are preserved or, if the markings will be destroyed or otherwise altered during the excavation, for as long as there are suitable reference points established by the excavator using the markings, which enable the excavator to locate the underground facility at all times during the excavation.

Fresh clear markings are better than reference points since the markings are within 18 inches either way of the horizontal location of the underground facility and would help avoid mistakes or post-damage claims for negligent excavation.

An excavator cannot rely upon another excavator’s locate request and resulting markings.

How Long is a Mark Good For?

The markings required by state law shall be done in a manner that will last for a minimum of five working days on any nonpermanent surface, or a minimum of ten working days on any permanent surface. Excavators are not required to request a new locate at the end of every five or ten day period as long as the markings have been preserved or, if the markings will be destroyed or otherwise altered during the excavation, as long as suitable reference points have been established by the excavator using the markings, which enable the excavator to locate the underground facility at all times during the excavation.

It is the responsibility of the excavator to preserve the markings at all times during the excavation. But if the markings must be destroyed or altered during the excavation, the excavator must establish suitable reference points which will enable the excavator to locate the underground facility at all times during the excavation. If the excavation will continue for a period longer that five or ten days (depending on surface type), the facility operator shall re-mark the underground facility at the request of the excavator. The request to re-mark the facility should be made through the notification center.

Fresh clear markings are better than reference points since the markings are within 18 inches either way of the horizontal location of the underground facility and would help avoid mistakes or post-damage claims for negligent excavation.

An excavator cannot rely upon another excavator’s locate request and resulting markings.

V. UTILITY RESPONSE PROCESS

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What Happens after I Request a Locate?

Each locate request is processed by a computer. The information contained in the locate request determines which underground facility operators have facilities in the area, and the computer then sends a locate request message to them.

Underground facility operators operate on the premise that if you give them proper advance notice (48 hours, not counting Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays) and they have facilities in the area where you intend to dig, they will respond and mark these facilities sometime within this 48-hour period.

If an underground facility operator/member has no underground facilities in the immediate area of the excavation, notification of such to the excavator may be provided in any reasonable manner.

Examples are:

  • IOC Electric Positive Response System
  • Face-to-face communication
  • Phone or phone message
  • Facsimile
  • Posting or marking in the excavation area with “OK” or “NO” (and may include the company’s initials)

All excavators are required to provide a phone number where they can be reached, according to Section 480.4 of the State Law.

If you’re convinced that a utility that has not responded has facilities where you intend to dig, contact IOC and another locate request will be sent to that utility.

What Facilities are Marked?

Underground facility operators are only responsible for marking the portions of their facilities which they operate and/or maintain.

Underground facility owners/operators do not locate individuals’ privately installed lines or facilities (propane, house to garage/out buildings, gas grills, and possibly water lines from street to house, etc.) that they do not own or operate. Individuals may contact utility locating services, often found in local telephone directories, to assist them in locating these privately installed utility lines.

VI. EXCAVATOR RESPONSIBILITIES DURING DIGGING

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Excavators Must Submit Their Own Requests

All excavators shall notify Iowa One Call at least 48 hours prior to excavating (excluding weekends and legal holidays). Upon notifying Iowa One Call, excavators will be given a confirmation number, often referred to as a “dig-ticket,” which excavators should keep as a reference for each excavation. Iowa One Call keeps all dig tickets on file for six years. Iowa law requires the person actually doing the digging (excavating) to notify Iowa One Call with locate request information. Excavators may not use a dig-ticket established by another excavator. Contractors and sub-contractors may not use the same dig-ticket. If a professional excavator (contractor) is hired by a homeowner to perform an excavation, it is the professional excavator who must notify Iowa One Call – not the homeowner.

Accuracy When Identifying the Proposed Excavation Site

Prior to notifying IOC, the excavator must be prepared to give detailed information describing the proposed excavation site to the Customer Service Representative (CSR). While street address or block and lot numbers, or both, are important for excavation notifications within a city, excavators must be aware that address information alone may not be sufficient information, especially when the proposed excavation is to take place in a new development. Landmarks, such as rivers, buildings and structures, major streets and intersections, established boundaries or other geographic information, including GPS Latitude and Longitude coordinates, are useful references to help determine the location of the proposed excavation site. When requesting underground facility locates outside a city, excavators shall include the name of the county, township, range and section number [for the complete list of information required for making notifications to IOC, refer to Chapter 480.4(1)(b)(1)-(8)- “within a city” and 480.4(1)(c)(1)-(8) –“outside a city”]. This information is readily available from county plat books, the county assessor’s office, the Iowa Department of Transportation or the reference desk of most libraries. In many cases, excavators can contact these reference sites via websites or telephone.

Reasonable Business Practices

Excavators and all persons subject to the requirements of the law should plan and conduct their work utilizing reasonable business practices. It may be unreasonable to request owners and operators of underground facilities to locate all of their facilities within 48 hours in advance of a large or extensive non-emergency project, or to request extensive locates in excess of a reasonable excavation or demolition work schedule, or to request locates under conditions where a repeat request (relocate) is likely to be made due to the passage of time or adverse job conditions.

It is the policy of Iowa One Call to limit the number of addresses on each normal locate request. Excavators are limited to 10 (ten) addresses on the same street within the same “hundred” block, per dig ticket, or three blocks of continuous installation in urban areas or one mile in rural areas.

Preserving the Locate Markings

Excavators are responsible for preserving the locate markings at all times during the excavation. If the markings will be destroyed or otherwise altered during the excavation, the excavator must establish suitable reference points which will enable the excavator to locate the underground facilities at all times during the excavation. During an excavation, the locate request is good for as long as the markings are preserved and clearly visible, or if the excavator has established suitable reference points. It is recommended that excavators not paint over the original locate markings with color-coded or other paint, as this may alter who is responsible for, or liable for, the locate markings in the event of a dig-in or damage to the underground facilities.

Owners and operators of underground facilities are responsible for marking their facility locates in a manner that will last a minimum of five (5) working days on any nonpermanent surface, or a minimum of ten (10) working days on any permanent surface. If the excavation will continue for any period longer than such periods, the facility owner/operator shall re-mark the location of their underground facilities at the request of the excavator. Excavators shall make the request for re-marks through the Iowa One Call Notification System and allow 48 hours for the locators to respond.

Location Tolerance Zone

The horizontal location of any underground facility is defined by Iowa law as including an area eighteen (18) inches on either side of the underground facility. This area is often referred to as the “tolerance zone.” Excavators should observe this tolerance zone and take precautionary measures to avoid encountering underground facilities when excavating near or within this area. When excavations take place within the tolerance zone, excavators should hand-dig test holes to determine the location of the underground facilities. No equipment or machinery, other than accepted procedures, such as vacuum excavation, should be used for exposing underground facilities within the tolerance zone.

Damage to an Underground Facility

An excavator shall, as soon as practical, notify the operator/owner when damage occurs to an underground facility as a result of an excavation. The notice shall include the type of facility damaged and the extent of the damage. If damage occurs, an excavator shall refrain from backfilling the immediate area of the underground facilities until the damage has been investigated by the operator/owner, unless the operator/owner authorizes otherwise. Excavators should also notify the operator/owner of any damage to tracer wires. Excavators should notify Iowa One Call to report that damage to an underground facility has occurred. Iowa One Call will notify all underground facility operators in the area, who will respond appropriately. If the damage results in an emergency, the excavator shall take reasonable actions to alleviate the emergency including, but not limited to, the evacuation of the affected area. The excavator shall leave all equipment situated where the equipment was at the time the emergency was created and immediately contact the operator/owner and appropriate authorities and necessary response agencies including, but not limited to, the 911 emergency response system. NOTE: Federal law requires excavators to notify the 911 emergency response system if damage to any underground facility results in the escape of any flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas or liquid.

Incomplete Markings or No-Response

In the event it is known or apparent that one or more underground facility operators failed to mark the entire area requested on the original notification to Iowa One Call, or if one or more underground facility operators failed to locate within the allotted timeline (48 hours excluding weekends and legal holidays), excavators should contact Iowa One Call to report such occurrences. It is recommended that excavators notify Iowa One Call of any “no-response” and allow time for locators to respond before excavating.

Frequently Asked Questions

May I dig after the 48-hour advance notice?

Excavators have an obligation to dig in a reasonable and prudent manner at all times, taking all necessary and required measures to avoid damaging underground facilities. Although excavators may start digging once the required 48-hour timeline has expired (excluding weekends and legal holidays), it is highly recommended that excavators notify IOC of any incomplete markings or no-response situations and avoid excavating until all underground facilities have been properly located and marked or cleared.

Do I need to submit a request for re-locates at the end of five or ten days?

Markings are required to be applied in a manner that will last a minimum of five working days on any nonpermanent surfaces, or a minimum of ten working days on any permanent surfaces. This does not mean that a locate request expires at the end of five or ten days. A locate request is good for as long as the original locate markings are preserved and clearly visible, or if the excavator has established suitable reference points. Occasionally, unforeseen issues arise at the excavation site, such as weather conditions, that require excavators to contact Iowa One Call to request a re-locate. If a considerable amount of time passes after the original locates are made, it may also be prudent to request re-locates as new underground facilities may have been installed in the interim.

What should I do if I discover unknown underground facilities?

Call Iowa One Call and explain the situation. If necessary, IOC will notify participating underground facility operators with known facilities in the area. Excavators should contact the property owner of any proposed excavation site to determine if there are private underground facilities present. Private facilities are not required to be registered with, nor will they be located by means of, the Iowa One Call Notification System unless they have been registered by the operator/owner on a voluntary basis. Excavators should work with private locating contractors to have private facilities located and marked.

Is White-Lining required?

Excavators are not required by law to white-line proposed excavation sites. However, white-lining is one of the best tools an excavator can use to communicate with underground facility locators and make the most efficient use of time. The American Public Works Association (APWA) has established the color white as part of the uniform color code for marking underground facilities. White markings indicate “Proposed Excavation.” When excavators outline their proposed excavation area(s) in white, they can expect more precise locates, which equate to safer locates. In the event the proposed excavation will include more than one location (i.e. the north and south side of a building or structure) the excavator should white-line both areas and identify both areas when making notification to Iowa One Call. The benefits of white-lining are well worth the additional efforts it may take the excavator to apply the proposed excavation markings.

Are underground facility operators required to provide joint meets?

Joint Meets are not required by law (Chapter 480). However, most underground facility operators will honor requests for joint meets and attempt to respond in a timely manner. Excavators can schedule joint meets through the Iowa One Call Notification System. Excavators should be prepared to plan and work with facility operators and locators to avoid scheduling conflicts. It is important that excavators maintain proper channels of communication with the locators and facility operators/owners during the locating and excavating processes.

VII. UNDERGROUND FACILITIES INFORMATION

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CHAPTER 480, IOWA CODE

480.1 Definitions.

1. “Board” means the board of directors of the notification center.

2. “Damage” means any impact with, destruction, impairment, or penetration of, or removal of support from an underground facility, including damage to its protective coating, housing, or device.

3. “Emergency” means a condition where there is clear and immediate danger to life or health, or essential services, or a potentially significant loss property.

4. “Excavation” means an operation in which a structure or earth, rock, or other material in or on the ground is moved, removed, or compressed, or otherwise displaced by means of any tools, equipment, or explosives and includes, but is not limited to, grading, trenching, tiling, digging, ditching, drilling, augering, tunneling, scraping, cable or pipe plowing, driving, and demolition of structures. “Excavation” does not include normal farming operations, residential, commercial, or similar gardening, the opening of a grave site in a cemetery, normal activities involved in land surveying pursuant to chapter 114, operations in a solid waste disposal site which has planned for underground facilities, the replacement of an existing traffic sign at its current location and at no more than its current depth, and normal road or highway maintenance which does not change the original grade of the roadway or the ditch.

5. “Excavator” means a person proposing to engage or engaging in excavation.

6. “Normal farming operations” means plowing, cultivation, planting, harvesting, and similar operations routine to most farms, but excludes chisel plowing, sub-soiling, or ripping more than fifteen inches in depth, drain tile excavating, terracing, digging or driving a post in a new location other than replacing a post while repairing a fence in its existing location, and similar operations.

7. “Notification center” means the statewide notification center established in section 480.3.

8. “Operator” means a person owning or operating an underground facility including, but not limited to, public, private, and municipal utilities. An operator does not include a person who owns or otherwise lawfully occupies real property where an underground facility is located only for the use and benefit of the owner or occupant on the property.

9. “Person” means a person as defined in section 4.1, subsection 13.

10. “Underground facility” means an item of personal property owned or leased by the operator which is buried or placed below ground for use in connection with the storage or conveyance of, or the provision of services supplying water, sewage, electronic, telephonic, or telegraphic communications, electric energy, hazardous liquids, or petroleum products including natural gas or other substances, and includes, but is not limited to, pipes, sewers, conduits, cables, valves, lines, wires, manholes, and attachments to such property but does not include sanitary sewer laterals, storm sewer laterals, and water service lines providing service to abutting private properties.

480.1A Applicability — Prohibition.

This chapter applies to any excavation unless otherwise provided by law. A person shall not engage in any excavation unless the requirements of this chapter have been satisfied.

Section 480.3, Code 1991, is amended by striking the section and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

480.3 Notification Center Established — Participation.

1. a. A statewide notification center is established and shall be organized as a nonprofit corporation pursuant to chapter 504A.

(1) The center shall be governed by a board of directors which shall represent and be elected by operators, excavators, and other persons who participate in the center. The board, with input from all interested parties, shall determine the operating procedures and technology needed for a single statewide notification center and establish a notification process.

(2) In addition, the board shall either establish a competitive bidding procedure to select a vendor to provide the notification service or retain sufficient and necessary staff to provide the notification service.

(a) If a vendor is selected, the vendor contract shall be for a three-year period, which may be extended upon the approval of the board for a period not exceeding an additional three years. The terms of the vendor contract may be modified from time to time by the board and the vendor. The contract shall be reviewed, with an opportunity to receive new bids, at the end of the term of the contract.

(b) If the board retains staff to provide the notification service, the board, at the board’s discretion, may review the notification service at any time and make a determination to use the competitive bidding procedure to select a vendor.

b. Upon the selection of a vendor pursuant to paragraph “a”, the board shall notify the chairperson of the utilities board in writing of the selection. The board shall submit an annual report to the chairperson of the utilities board including an annual audit and review of the services provided by the notification center and the vendor.

c. The board is subject to chapters 21 and 22.

2. The board shall implement the latest and most cost-effective technological improvements for the center in order to provide operators and excavators with the most accurate data available and in a timely manner to allow operators and excavators to perform their responsibilities with the minimum amount of interruptions.

3. Every operator shall participate in and share in the costs of the notification center. The financial condition and the transactions of the notification center shall be audited at least once each year by a certified public accountant. The notification center shall not provide any form of aid or make a contribution to a political party or to the campaign of a candidate for political or public office. In addition to any applicable civil penalty, as provided in section 480.6, a violation of this section constitutes a simple misdemeanor.

Section History: Recent form

87 Acts, ch 135, § 3; 92 Acts, ch 1103, § 3; 95 Acts, ch 112, § 1; 98 Acts, ch 1049, §1; 2002 Acts, ch 1054, §1

480.4 Required Notice — Location and Marking of Underground Facilities — Exception.

1. a. Except as otherwise provided in this section, prior to any excavation, an excavator shall contact the notification center and provide notice of the planned excavation. This notice must be given at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the commencement of the excavation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The notification center shall establish a toll-free telephone number to allow excavators to provide the notice required pursuant to this subsection.

b. A notice provided pursuant to this subsection for a location within a city shall include the following information:

1. A street address or block and lot numbers, or both, of the proposed area of excavation.

2. The name and address of the excavator.

3. The excavator’s telephone number.

4. The type and extent of the proposed excavation.

5. Whether the discharge of explosives is anticipated.

6. The date and time when excavation is scheduled to begin.

7. Approximate location of the excavation on the property.

8. If known, the name of the housing development and property owner.

c. A notice provided pursuant to this subsection for a location outside a city shall include the following information:

1. The name of the county, township, range, and section.

2. The name and address of the excavator.

3. The excavator’s telephone number.

4. The type and extent of the proposed excavation.

5. Whether the discharge of explosives is anticipated.

6. The date and time when excavation is scheduled to begin.

7. Approximate location of the excavation on the property.

8. If known, the quarter section, E911 address and global positioning system coordinate, name of property owner, name of housing development with street address or block and lot numbers, or both.

d. For purposes of the requirements of this section, an excavation commences the first time excavation occurs in an area that was not previously identified by the excavator in an excavation notice.

2. The notification center, upon receiving notice from an excavator, shall immediately transmit the information contained in the notice to each operator in the area of the proposed excavation and provide the names of all operators in that area to the excavator. The notification center shall assign an inquiry identification number to each notice and shall maintain a record of each notice for at least six (6) years from the date the notice is received. The notification center shall not assess an operator who requests in writing not to receive a notification of its own excavations for any portion of the costs associated with such excavations.

3. a. (1) An operator who receives notice from the notification center shall mark the horizontal location of the operator’s underground facility and the excavator shall use due care in excavating in the marked area to avoid damaging the underground facility. The operator shall complete such locating and marking within forty-eight (48) hours after receiving the notice, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, unless otherwise agreed by the operator and the excavator. The locating and marking of the underground facilities shall be completed at no cost to the excavator. If, in the opinion of the operator, the planned excavation requires that the precise location of the underground facilities be determined, the excavator, unless otherwise agreed upon between the excavator and the operator, shall hand dig test holes to determine the location of the facilities unless the operator specifies an alternate method.

(2) The marking required under this subsection shall be done in a manner that will last for a minimum of five working days on any nonpermanent surface, or a minimum of ten working days on any permanent surface. If the excavation will continue for any period longer than such periods, the operator shall remark the location of the underground facility upon the request of the excavator. The request shall be made through the notification center.

b. An operator who receives notice from the notification center and who determines that the operator does not have any underground facility located within the proposed area of excavation shall notify the excavator concerning this determination prior to the indicated date of commencement of excavation.

c. For purposes of this chapter, the “horizontal location of any underground facility” is defined as including an area eighteen (18) inches on either side of the underground facility.

4. An excavator is responsible for preserving the markings required in subsection 3 at all times during the excavation. If the markings will be destroyed or otherwise altered during the excavation, the excavator must establish suitable reference points which will enable the excavator to locate the underground facility at all times during the excavation.

5. The operator shall mark the location of any underground facility to conform with the uniform color code established by the American public works association’s utility location and coordination council.

6. The only exception to this section shall be when an emergency exists. Under such conditions, excavation operations can begin immediately, provided reasonable precautions are taken to protect the underground facilities. The excavator shall notify the notification center of the excavation as soon as practical.

480.5 Damage to Underground Facility — Report to Operator.

An excavator shall, as soon as practical, notify the operator when any damage occurs to an underground facility as a result of an excavation. The notice shall include the type of facility damaged and the extent of the damage. If damage occurs, an excavator shall refrain from backfilling in the immediate area of the underground facilities until the damage has been investigated by the operator, unless the operator authorizes otherwise.

If the damage results in an emergency, the excavator shall take all reasonable actions to alleviate the emergency including, but not limited to, the evacuation of the affected area. The excavator shall leave all equipment situated where the equipment was at the time the emergency was created and immediately contact the operator and appropriate authorities and necessary emergency response agencies.

480.6 Civil penalties.

1. A person who violates a provision of this chapter is subject to a civil penalty as follows:

a. For a violation related to natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars for each violation for each day the violation continues, up to a maximum of five hundred thousand dollars.

b. For a violation related to any other underground facility, an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars for each violation for each day the violation continues, up to a maximum of twenty thousand dollars.

2. The attorney general, upon the receipt of a complaint, may institute any legal proceedings necessary to enforce the penalty provisions of this chapter.

3. All amounts collected pursuant to this section shall be remitted to the Treasurer of State, who shall deposit the amount in the general fund of the state.

480.7 Injunction.

Any affected person may make application to the district court for injunctive relief from any violation of this chapter.

480.8 Local Ordinances and Regulations Unaffected.

This chapter does not affect or impair any local ordinances or other provisions of law requiring permits to be obtained before excavation. However, a permit issued by any governing body does not relieve the excavator from complying with the requirements of this chapter, unless the governing body is the excavator and the governing body and the operator have agreed in writing to waive notification under this chapter. However, such an agreement shall not be considered in the issuance of any required permit.

Sec. 9. Section 479.47, unnumbered paragraph 2, Code 1991, is amended by striking the paragraph.

Sec. 10. Section 479A.26, unnumbered paragraphs 2 and 3, Code 1991, are amended by striking the paragraphs.

Sec. 11. Section 478.36 and 480.2, Code 1991, are repealed.

Sec. 12. This Act takes effect on January 1, 1993.

480.9 Liability for Owner of Farmland.

An owner of farmland used in a farm operation, as defined in section 352.2, who complies with the requirements of this chapter shall not be held responsible for any damages to an underground facility, including fiber optic cable, if the damage occurred on the farmland in the normal course of the farm operation, unless the owner intentionally damaged the underground facility or acted with wanton disregard or recklessness in causing the damage to the underground facility. For purposes of this section, an “owner” includes a family member, employee, or tenant of the owner.