June 01, 2017
Q. What if I am hand digging, do I have to call?
A. A locate is not needed if digging 12 inches or less on private property by property owner without use of mechanical equipment & 24 inches or less for agricultural purposes of tilling.
Q. I’m not going to dig very deep, should I call MS811?
A. The call is free. The information you will receive will benefit you in completing your project. Don’t assume the liability for damaging an unmarked underground line or risk the possibility of causing death or injury because you didn’t call.
Q. Who is required to give notice to MS811?
A. MS state law, section 77-13-5 (1) says: In addition to complying with all other applicable regulations and requirements of federal, state, county and municipal authorities, no person shall engage in excavation of any kind, before meeting the notification requirements of this chapter. The only exception is stated in section 77-13-5 (3) : Compliance with the notice requirements of this section shall not be required of: (a) persons plowing less than twenty-four (24) inches in depth for agricultural purposes; (b) persons who are moving or otherwise displacing, by hand, earth, rock or other material or mass of material on or below the ground at a depth of less than twelve (12) inches on property they own; and (c) persons, other than the property owner, who are moving or otherwise displacing, by hand, earth, rock or other material or mass of material on or below the ground at a depth of less than twelve (12) inches, except when such excavation is in a clearly marked underground facility right-of-way. Why risk the possibility of damage to property, injury and death?
Q. What happens when I call?
A. The Customer Service Representative (CSR) will ask for information about the location and type of work to be done. The specific location information will be compared to service area information provided by member utilities. If a conflict occurs, the member utility will receive a notice of your intent to dig. The CSR will provide a reference number and a list of the member utilities that MS811will notify.
Q. What is the ticket number for?
A. Verification that you called MS811 in compliance with MS State law and it is good for 14 calendar days.
Q. Why is the ticket number so long?
A. The ticket number consists of the date, time and the number of tickets taken for that day.
Q. Why does it matter how long it will take to do the excavating?
A. The confirmation number that we provide at the end of the call is only good for 14 calendar days from the date & time the locate request ticket is processed or entered into the system by MS811. If the work exceeds that time-frame you will need to call back to have the number updated at least 2 & not more than 3 working days prior to the expiration date. During this time frame your markings may be destroyed due to mowing of yard, children pulling up flags & rain, which may lead to you needing another request put in for Remarking.
Q. Who is not compliant with the Mississippi Excavation Law which requires that all utility owner/operators be a member of MS811?
A. We do not have a list of non-compliant companies.
Q. Do I have to notify anyone else?
A. You should notify any companies, that you are aware of, who are not compliant with MS state law. Please encourage your local facility owners to become a member of MS811 and become compliant with the state law.
Q. Why can’t you find the property with the address given?
A. We do not have address ranges on our map and in order to notify the correct member companies, we will need accurate driving directions to the excavation site. You can also provide GPS reading for the excavation site to help pinpoint the location; however, please be aware that the reading is only as good as the device used and may not be accurate.
Q. Why do you need my mailing address?
A. It is required by MS state law to give a complete mailing address.
Q. What is the time limit on an Emergency or Short Notice?
A. In regard to an emergency locate request, MS state law states: The advance notice provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any person making an excavation at times of emergency involving danger to life, health or property or a customer service outage. However, every person who shall engage in such emergency excavation shall take all necessary and reasonable precautions to avoid or minimize interference with or damage to existing underground utility lines and underground facilities in and near the excavation area, and shall notify as promptly as reasonably possible the operators of underground utility lines or underground facilities in and near the emergency excavation area specifically designating whether such excavation is an emergency excavation as defined herein. In the event of damage to or dislocation of any underground utility lines or underground facilities caused by any such emergency excavation work, the person responsible for the excavation shall immediately notify the operator of the damaged or dislocated underground facilities of the damage or dislocation.
The law does not address a different response time in an emergency for the operators to come mark their lines, so the standard two (2) working-days’ notice still applies. Common sense dictates that the sooner an operator is notified, the sooner he will be able to respond. It is certainly in the best interest of the operator and the excavator for the lines to be marked before further damage, injury or even death occurs from striking an unmarked line.
A Short Notice request is not addressed in our MS state law. This is merely a request submitted on behalf of the excavator requesting an expedited locate. Most operators will try to honor such a request if their backlog of pending locate requests will allow them to do so. By law, they still have two (2) working-days to locate their lines.
In regard to both Emergency and Short Notice requests, effective July 1, 2015 MS state law says:
If an operator can locate its underground utility lines or underground facilities in the excavation area only by excavation and has given proper notice of such, that operator shall be allowed a reasonable amount of additional time, not to exceed four (4) working days from the day the original notice was provided in accordance with this chapter, to mark the approximate location of the underground utility lines or underground facilities.
Q. Why do utility companies only mark up to their meter?
A. Most of the utility lines on private property are owned by the property owner and the property owner will need to locate and mark those lines themselves, but in most cases, the utility company will only mark from the street to the meter or if there is no meter to the property line.
Q. Why can’t the locators just meet the excavator on site to show where to mark?
A. In order to complete your ticket you will have to provide accurate directions as to where your excavation will take place on the site. We can add a note on the ticket for them to contact you, before locating, for an on-site meeting.
Q. How many days does the Mississippi Excavation Law require for locators to mark a site?
A. 2 working-days not including weekends and holidays. If the utility companies have to excavate to find their lines they are allowed an additional 2 working days for non-locatable lines with proper notification to the excavator, not to exceed 4 working days from the day the original notice was provided.
Q. What if the lines have not been marked in the 2 working days?
A. The MS state law states you will need to call back to let us know the lines are not marked and wait 4 hours for the companies to respond. Non-locatable facility owners are allotted an additional 2 working days to complete markings.
Q. Will I be able to dig once I’ve waited the 2 working days and the 4 hours?
A. Yes, according to law; however, give us a call back & we will call the companies directly to find out what has happened. Please be certain that you have also allotted an extra 2 working days for non-locatable lines to be marked. See section 77-13-5 of MS state law.
Q. What can be done when utility owners won’t locate their utilities?
A. The initial request is sent to the utility owners and they are given 2 working-days to respond. After that, the law requires you to call MS811 back, if not marked, to have a No Response ticket submitted. You are required, by law, to allow 4 hours for the utilities to respond. If a 3rd request needs to be sent, the CSR will resubmit the ticket and give the utility companies a call. If this is a consistently reoccurring problem, you can also contact your area MS811 Damage Prevention Coordinator to have him go speak to the utility company directly.
Q. Will I be responsible if lines are cut that were not marked?
A. MS law requires every person owning or operating underground utility lines or underground facilities shall, upon receiving advance notice of the commencement of excavation, in accordance with Section 77-13-7, make an investigation, and may report, through the use of the Positive response information system (PRIS) the status of the work performed, within two (2) working days from the time notice is provided in accordance with this chapter to the Mississippi 811, Inc. Although unmarked lines carry a liability: you will have to speak to the utility company directly, as MS811 does not determine liability.
Q. Why do we have to pay for tickets we call in?
A. An excavator is not billed for a locate request. Facility Owners that are members of MS811 are responsible for paying for the locate request they receive. If you are the excavator and own and operate underground utility lines in the area of excavation, you can request to have the locate suppressed. You will need to contact Miriam Grammar with MS811 to sign a suppression agreement. However, please note that if you contract your work out to multiple sub-contractors those crews may not know of existing projects and your lines may be cut.
Q. What can be done when excavators call in updates on jobs that have been completed?
A. Call us and we will help you contact your area MS811 Damage Prevention Coordinator to have him set up a meeting or speak with the contractor. In many cases, the work is sub-contracted and the contractor will have to be made aware of this situation to get it properly handled.
Q. Should MS811 be called when an industrial or residential building is on fire?
A. Not unless excavation is involved. Call 911 and contact the utility companies, directly, to have their services discontinued to prevent any hazards to persons or utilities. In the event of an emergency, MS811 may be able to assist in identifying any underground utility that is involved.