Act 50 PA One Call Updates: Not Just for Excavators Anymore

Posted by Christine Gunsaullus on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

PA One Call Act 50 Updates

We’re all familiar with the Pennsylvania One Call System. My first two co-op jobs at Aqua PA and Sun Pipeline introduced me to the “Call Before You Dig” rules, and over the years, its done a good job of increasing safety and protecting our infrastructure.

so why fix something that’s not broken?

That’s what I wondered when I saw SB242/Act 50 had been signed into law, effective April 28, 2018. It is 20 pages of legal mumbo-jumbo, detailing the Underground Utility Line Protection Law. Since I’ve never had to do anything on past construction projects, except remind my contractors to call before they dig, I figured it doesn’t affect me. I was completely wrong.

Turns out, ALL of our roles have changed. The Public Utility Commission (PUC) is now enforcing the rule, providing oversight and enforcement that was missing from the law in the past. While some people suggest the new rules will lead to more conflict between construction teams, with each party expected to report violations against one another, we see it as a prime opportunity for better communication amongst all parties during construction projects. Granted, good communication can be hard, but we’re doing our part, starting with sharing information on the updated law.

overview of changes

for Facility Owners:

  • Can now upgrade a project to “Complex”.
  • Must participate in One Call System’s Member mapping as determined by the Board (can upload shape files). Board is developing schedule for those not currently participating.
  • Must maintain, locate, or otherwise identify records of abandoned utilities after April 28, 2018.
  • Must directly communicate with excavator within 2 hours of a re-notify request, and report to call center.
  • Must report all “Alleged Violations” within 30 business days of notice unless repair is less than $2,500.

for Project Owners:

  • Must report all “Alleged Violations” within 10 business days.

for Designers:

  • Must report all “Alleged Violations” within 30 business days of notice.  This is in addition to excavators and utility owners reporting the violations.
  • Must utilize “Subsurface Utility Engineering” (SUE) for any project over $400K.
  • Must submit “Design” ticket for 10-90 days before excavation. This hasn’t been enforced in the past, but will be now.
  • Submit “Preliminary Design” ticket for anything more than 90 days before scheduled excavation.
  • Must forward plans upon requests from utility owners. Can use “Drawing Exchange”, which is 8-1-1’s FTP site.

for Excavators:

  • Must re-notify call center if upon arrival to work site there are unmarked or incorrectly marked utilities. This rule is only applicable to simple projects (not complex).
    • Facility owner must reply within 2 hours.
    • If no reply, excavator can dig at 3 hour mark.
  • Must report alleged violations within 10 business days of striking, damaging lines, or other violation of Act occurred.
  • If work site remains active, the excavator does not have to resubmit a ticket every 10 business days

additional resources

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Christine Gunsaullus

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