Alabama’s Underground Damage Prevention legislation was enacted in 1994 and over the years there have been some amendments 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 37-15-4(c)

The notice required by subsection (b) of this section must contain the name, address, and telephone number of the person responsible for the excavation or the demolition and the person giving notice, the proposed starting date and time, the type of excavation or demolition operation to be conducted, the location of the proposed excavation or demolition with sufficient details to enable the operator to locate same with reasonable certainty, and whether or not explosives are to be used. In the event the location requirements of this subsection cannot be met, the excavator shall premark the route or boundaries of the site of proposed excavation or demolition by means of white as the identifying color on stakes, flags, paint, buoys or clearly identifiable materials placed on the surface of the ground or water prior to the notification to the “One-Call Notification System”. However, premarking is not required when the premarking could reasonably interfere with traffic or pedestrian control.

Definition:

PREMARK. To delineate the general scope of the excavation on the surface of the ground using white paint, white stakes, or other similar white markings.

This provision of the law outlines the minimum requirement of the information that is to be provided on a locate request. The key thing to remember is the more concise and accurate information you can provide, a more timely response to your request will be the result. Key information to provide includes:

  • Defined street address or street name with distance and direction from a nearest intersecting street, especially if a physical address is not available
  • A good contact name and phone number for the facility owners to use if they should need to speak to some one regarding additional information
  • Defined area where the excavation will take place at the physical location.

There are times when it may be difficult to describe the area to be located. This section of the law recommends in those cases that the area should be premarked with white paint to outline the proposed excavation site. Premarking has several advantages. One is that it allows the excavator to visit the site before contacting 811 to place a locate request which may allow for better directions and site information as well as to look for any potential indication of underground facilities to be aware of and then compare once the physical markings are complete. It also better defines the area of excavation to locate so that the locator, when visiting the site, can mark the precise area needed and not spend time over-marking in areas where work will not be conducted; this allows the locator to mark the needed area quickly and effectively and then move on to the next location site.