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Missing Marks: What to do if utility lines don't get marked

April 25, 2019

There are many people involved in making sure utilities are marked at your dig site to help keep the project safe.  The process begins with you, the person with a shovel, or a post-hole digger or a trencher or a backhoe or anything else that disturbs the soil.  You contact Diggers Hotline to provide us with information about your project. We pass that information on to the utilities and other line-owners that are local to your project.  It is the responsibility of utilities and other line-owners to mark the location of their buried lines at your jobsite.

 

Unfortunately, we have heard that there are times when utility lines do not get marked. Here are some steps you can take if this happens to you:

 

No-Show Relocate:

Diggers Hotline has created a new ticket type for just this situation.  The No-Show Relocate can be used when a utility locator fails to mark their lines at an excavation site.  If it is within 10 days of the start date and time of the locate request you have filed with Diggers Hotline, and you are at the excavation site or on the way, and there is no response from a utility locator, you may use a No-Show Relocate.  Let Diggers Hotline know which utility or utilities did not show up at your jobsite.  We will send them No-Show relocate. They should contact you within an hour to let you know when they will respond to the locate request.

 

Contacting the Utilities/Locators:

When Diggers Hotline switched to our new call center software in January, we added a valuable piece of information to the ticket you receive from us.  Diggers Hotline locate requests now show the phone number to get in contact with each utility, or their locator, that is listed on the ticket. If you have a question about locate marks, you now have access to those phone numbers by simply referencing your locate request.  Anyone who files a locate request and has an email address assigned to their Caller Profile will have the ticket emailed to you automatically when it's filed.  Diggers Hotline representatives will also offer to email you a copy of your ticket if do not file online.  Having a copy of your locate request is important for many reasons, but giving you access to the phone number of the utility locators is an added benefit.

 

File an Enforcement Request:

Another option for excavators who are not able to get a response from utility locators is the new state enforcement program.  Set up for incidents involving natural gas or other hazardous materials, the law enforcement program includes a review panel to review complaints and may lead to fines of up to $25,000 issued by the Public Service Commission. Violations of state law that do not involve natural gas or other hazardous materials are not eligible for this program.

 

Upcoming: Positive Response:

All excavators will soon have a new option available for checking locate status.  In a voluntary system that Diggers Hotline is encouraging all utility members to use, field locators can indicate the status of a locate request through the Diggers Hotline Portal.  Excavators can log into the portal (if they are a ProPortal or Portal-Lite user), or use the “Find Tickets” option at the main portal page (by just searching on your ticket number), to see the status of their locate request.  This is a way for locators to communicate back to excavators when locate marks may not be needed at a job site.  This option isn’t yet available, but will be coming soon.