EXCAVATORS: Local, federal law require call to 911 when pipeline damaged

Damaging pipelines carries its own set of risks.State and federal require a call to 911 when there is a pipeline release. PHMSA may also place maximum civil penalties of $209,002 per violation per day with a maximum of $2,090,022 for any related series of violations on any Florida excavators who damage their regulated pipelines.

Practice damage prevention, protect wallet

The U.S. DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has established criteria for adequate state enforcement of their damage prevention (one-call) laws and also a Federal Standard for Excavators. Here’s what you need to know:

PHMSA evaluated each state against the enforcement criteria to determine program adequacy. Florida’s program was evaluated in December and a decision is pending. PHMSA will take federal enforcement action against excavators in states with inadequate enforcement when a pipeline regulated by PHMSA or the state is unlawfully damaged. Daily fines max out at $200,000 and $2 million. Damage prevention is your best defense.

  • LEARN and FOLLOW Sunshine 811’s High Priority Subsurface Installation (HPSI) procedures for working near HPSIs.
  • ALWAYS CONTACT the pipeline operator with the excavation start date and time when you get positive response code 2C-Marked with Exceptions. That means your excavation site is within 15 feet of an HPSI pipeline.




More Information:

Final Rule Press Release

Final Rule

FAQs

The Pipeline Safety Statute 49 U.S. Code 60101 – 60301

PIPES Act

2017 Holiday Calendar

Sunshine 811 will be closed the following holidays throughout 2017. Our Internet Ticket Entry and Single Address Ticket systems will function during these times. As a reminder, these days are not counted in the two full business day or 10 full business day waiting periods for normal and underwater locate tickets. Please plan accordingly.

January 2 New Year's
January 16 Martin Luther King Day
May 29 Memorial Day
July 4 Independence Day
September 4 Labor Day
November 23 & 24 Thanksgiving
December 25 & 26 Christmas

New positive response code clarifies procedures when digging near white lined areas

Sunshine 811 recently rolled out the new positive response code, “2E Marked with Exceptions – marked within the confines of the white-lined area.” The purpose of the new code is further described in the accompanying paragraph: “A locate technician marked the approximate horizontal location of buried facilities WITHIN the white-lined area. (White paint, stakes or other white marks define the dig site boundary.) Any excavation outside the white-lined area requires a new ticket.

Excavators who white line their job sites before notifying 811 create win-win situations for themselves and locate technicians. It’s a best practice and it’s a low impact marking practice in the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, Chapter 556, Florida Statutes.

White lining eliminates the guess work for locators. It clearly defines the dig area with white paint, flags, stakes or a combination of these before you notify 811.

This code may also be used after the locate technician has asked you to white line because the locate description was not clear.

 
 

11-18-16 DRAFT LEGISLATION REVISIONS

Sunshine 811's Board of Directors approved its fourth revision at the November 18, 2016, meeting. The revision added "and sole discretion" 

When an event giving rise to a notice results in damage to any pipe, cable or its protective covering, or any other underground facility, the member operator receiving the notice shall file a report with the system. Reports shall be submitted to the center annually, no later than March 31st for the prior calendar year, or more frequently at the option AND SOLE DISCRETION of the member operator. The report shall describe if known, the cause, nature and location of the damage. The system shall establish and maintain a process to facilitate submission of reports by member operators.


The fully amended Chapter 556, F.S., language follows:

Chapter 556, F.S. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

RELATED TO DAMAGE REPORTING

s. 556.103(5) The board of directors shall submit to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor, not later than 60 days before the convening of each regular session of the Legislature, an annual progress report on the participation by municipalities and counties in the one-call notification system created by this chapter. The report must include a summary of the reports to the system from the clerks of court, as well as a summary of the damage reporting data received by the system pursuant to s. 556.105(12) for the preceding year, and any analysis of the data authorized by the board of directors.

[Note—the foregoing section requires annual reporting by the system (Sunshine 811) to the Legislature of the damage data reported to it pursuant to the amendment proposed to s. 556.105(12); authorizes the Sunshine 811 to analyze the damage data reported to it, if so authorized by the Board; and requires reporting on any analysis of the data authorized by the Sunshine 811 Board]

s. 556.105(12) 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 immediately notify the member operator. If any contact with or damage to an underground pipe results in the escape of any natural and other gas or hazardous liquid regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the United States Department of Transportation, the excavator must immediately report the contact by calling the 911 emergency telephone number. Upon receiving notice, the member operator shall send personnel to the location as soon as possible to effect temporary or permanent repair of the contact or damage. Until such time as the contact or damage has been repaired, the excavator shall cease excavation or demolition activities that may cause further damage to such underground facility. When an event giving rise to a notice results in damage to any pipe, cable or its protective covering, or any other underground facility, the member operator receiving the notice shall file a report with the system. Reports shall be submitted to the center annually, no later than March 31st for the prior calendar year, or more frequently at the option and sole discretion of the member operator. The report shall describe, if known, the cause, nature and location of the damage. The system shall establish and maintain a process to facilitate submission of reports by member operators.

[The foregoing amendments add two new requirements to this section—1) to report damage to an underground pipe that results in escape of gas or hazardous liquids immediately by calling the 911 emergency number; and 2) to annually report (or more frequently at the option of the member) to the system any contact resulting in damage to a facility which must describe, if known, the cause, nature and location of the damage.  The system is authorized to create a process for submission of the reports.]

s. 556.107(1)(c) Any excavator or member operator who commits a noncriminal infraction under paragraph (a) may be required to pay a civil penalty for each infraction, which is $500 plus court costs. If a citation is issued by a state law enforcement officer, a local law enforcement officer, a local government code inspector, or a code enforcement officer, 80 percent of the civil penalty collected by the clerk of the court shall be distributed to the state or local governmental entity whose employee issued the citation and 20 percent of the penalty shall be retained by the clerk to cover administrative costs, in addition to other costs. If a citation is issued by a state law enforcement officer, the civil penalty collected by the clerk shall be retained by the clerk for deposit into the fine and forfeiture fund established pursuant to s. 142.01. Any person who fails to properly respond to a citation issued pursuant to paragraph (b) shall, in addition to the citation, be charged with the offense of failing to respond to the citation and, upon conviction, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A written warning to this effect must be provided at the time any citation is issued pursuant to paragraph (b).

[Note—the amendments to this section will permit state law enforcement officers who issue citations to excavators of member operators who commit noncriminal infractions under section (a) to receive 80 percent of the penalty money received as a result of the citation, as local law enforcement is currently authorized to receive.  State law enforcement officers currently are prohibited from receiving any of the penalty money resulting from citations they issue]