Page 9 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2020 Issue 3
P. 9

ALegislative Corner
labama’s Underground Damage Prevention legislation has been enacted since 1994. Over the years there have
been some amendment to strengthen and improve the damage prevention program in our state. In this section we will focus on some of the key terms and sections to ensure a thorough understanding of the underground damage prevention as outline in Alabama state law.
Alabama Statute 37-15-5: Underground Damage Prevention Program
Membership in the “One-Call Notification System”
This section of the law directly addressed the requirements on the
underground facility owners to help protect their facilities from third party damage and protect those working around those facilities. The revisions to the law in 2019 mandated that all underground facility owners participate in a single One Call Notification System. Statute § 37-15-5 (a) (1) states that operators who have underground facilities within this state shall participate in and utilize the services
of the “One-Call Notification System”. Until this change last year, Alabama was one of only a few states that did not have some form of membership requirement in their state 811 system.
To ease the burden of membership on the facility owner, the law allowed for membership to be structured with a phase in approach. Statute § 37-15-5 (a) (2)- (4) states that as of the effective date of the law passing, January 1, 2020, all operators who were current members of Alabama 811 must remain members. Non-member operators with more than 25,000 customers or more than 500 miles of facilities, are required to join one year from effective date, which is January 1, 2021. All remaining non- members are required to join within
two years of effective date which is January 1, 2022.
If an operator fails to join Alabama 811 by the time required by law and the failure to be a member is a cause to the damage to a facility by a person who has complied with the requirements and used reasonable care in the performance of the excavation activities which caused the damage, then the operator can not recover for damages
of those facilities. This provides some assurance for the excavating community if an underground facility operator does not follow the requirements of membership.
Alabama 811 staff has been contacting non-members since mid 2019 to help educate them on their requirements under the law and working to transition them into members of Alabama 811. We encourage all non-members to begin the process and not wait until just prior to their required time frame.
For those needing assistance with membership, additional information can be found by visiting https://www.
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2020, Issue 3
Alabama 811 • 7

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