The Idaho House of Representatives and Senate have passed changes to the Damage Prevention Statue. These changes will impact all utility members, contractors, and even homeowners who take part in and utilize the Call Before you Dig (811) services for marking underground utilities prior to excavation. These changes will take effect July 1, 2023.
Below are the noted changes to the law:
- The definition of “emergency” now includes “an unplanned customer service outage.”
- The definition of “notice of emergency excavation” now includes that the excavator must call no less than two (2) hours prior to commencing the emergency excavation and must provide contact information to reach an individual throughout the emergency excavation process.
- The life of a ticket has been changed from three (3) weeks to four (4) consecutive weeks following the date of the notification to the call center. Note: This is for maintained marks – as long as it is apparent the site conditions have not changed substantially to invalidate the markings.
- Underground facility owners will now have the right to request compensation for cost incurred responding to tickets providing less than two (2) working days’ notice and/or tickets processed as an emergency that do not meet the definition of emergency.
- The time for underground facility owners to respond to emergency excavation notices is now clearly defined in the Dig Law. Upon receipt of an emergency excavation notice, the facility owner has two new requirements:
- Within one (1) hour of receiving the notice of emergency excavation, the facility owner must attempt to contact the excavator (at the number provided in the emergency excavation notice) and provide information concerning underground facilities within the area of excavation or provide the anticipated response time.
- Unless the facility owner informs the excavator that it is impossible to respond under the circumstances and provides an alternate expected arrival time, the facility owner must arrive at the emergency excavation site within two (2) hours of receiving the notice of emergency excavation to locate and mark the underground facilities.
- Underground facility owners must maintain accurate contact information – updated no less than once per year – for individuals responsible for the operation of the underground facilities with the one-number notification service.