Page 9 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 3
P. 9

Alabama’s Underground Damage Prevention legislation has been enacted since 1994. Over the years there has been an amendment to strengthen and improve the damage prevention program in our state. We will focus on some of the key terms and sections to ensure a thorough understanding of the underground damage prevention as outlined in Alabama state law.
Beyond the general requirements of the damage prevention requirements outlined in the law, there is a section specifically addressing additional precautions to avoid damage. This section outlines very basic actions to be utilized as a minimum when excavating near underground facilities.
"§37-15-8. Precaution to Avoid Damage”
In addition to the notification requirements of Section 37-15-45 (Notice of Intent to Excavate or Demolish), each person responsible for an excavation or demotion operation, when they are performing excavation or demolition within the tolerance zone, shall do all the following to avoid damage to or minimize interference with the underground facilities:
1. Determine the location of any marked underground facility utilizing noninvasive methods of excavation (see definition below). For parallel type excavations, the existing facility shall be exposed at intervals as often as necessary to avoid damages.
2. Maintain a clearance of at least 18 inches between underground facility and the cutting edge or point of mechanized equipment.
3. Provide such support for underground facilities in and near the construction area, including backfill operations, as may be reasonably required by the operator for the protection of the utilities.
4. Protect and preserve the markings of approximate locations of underground facilities until those markings are no longer required for proper and safe excavation or demolition.
When establishing written legislation, it is a challenge
to ensure the wording allows the ability to address current technology and operations but be flexible enough to accommodate future innovations in the damage prevention industry.
One area where technology is continuously evolving is in new ways to excavate near underground facilities, because sometimes it is required, to minimize damage. The definition of NONINVASIVE METHOD OF EXCAVATION allows for future innovations. The definition states that noninvasive methods of excavation are any method of excavation that does not compromise the integrity of the underground facility. These methods include but are not limited to, hand digging, pot holing, soft digging, vacuum excavation methods, or other methods approved by the operator.
Finding new methods of safe and efficient excavation operations with modern technology and innovation is a way to continue to improve the damage prevention program for the future.
Legislative Corner
2022, Issue 3
Alabama 811 • 7

   7   8   9   10   11