Three Notch EMC

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The purpose of this document is to provide a basic understanding of the responsibilities for safe excavation practices in Georgia. Please be advised of the following:

• This manual is published as an educational document.

• It is not a legal reference. Consult your attorney for this type of advice.

• It does not contain the complete text of the Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act and the High.

• Voltage Safety Act. These documents may be secured by logging onto

• The information in this manual is subject to changewithout notice.

Copies of Your UPC Calls and Ticket Requests

If you feel that a mistake has been made that can be clarified by review of the actual call to the UPC or the actual ticket sent to the utility, we can help. The UPC records all conversations involving locate requests.


These recordings and the tickets are kept on file for seven years and we can provide them for you upon request. A small fee may be required for retrieval.

Dig Safely

• Call before you dig (any time you use mechanical equipment – even on private property.)

• Phone 1-800-282-7411; Atlanta Area 770-623-4344. For many cellular customers, #DIG is a free call. Check with your provider.

• Wait the required amount of time (2 working days, excluding weekends and holidays, following the day of the call.)

• Check the Positive Response Information System (1-888-670-2902)

• Respect the marks.

• Dig with care.

• Additionally– Call the UPC if there are still obvious signs of unmarked utility facilities before you start work.

Look For:

• Power Transformers

• Utility Pole Drops (Cables attached to the side of the utility pole and entering the ground. Galvanized "U" Guards some times protect these cables.)

• Telephone or cable television pedestals

• Water valves or hydrants

• Regulator stations, gas meters, valves or test stations

• Warning signs or markers

• Manhole rings and covers


Before proceeding with your excavation, be certain that you have made all attempts to identify any of these unmarked facilities. This includes but is not limited to looking around in all directions to check for obvious signs. Inspect all utility poles for cables or "U" guards. Not all facility owner/operators will locate their service lines from the meter to the address. These include but are not limited to sewer and water facility owner/operators. The service line or lateral leaving the meter or main to the address is generally considered a private line and the excavator should employ a private locate service to mark those lines. In addition, three phase commercial/industrial electrical services are typically customer owned from the transformer to the facility.

Tolerance Zone

The Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act has established a tolerance zone of twenty-four inches on either side of the outer edge of the utility facility. Any person excavating in the tolerance zone shall take all necessary precautions to avoid damage.

This includes, but is not limited to:

• Digging by hand

• Potholing

• Vacuum excavation and soft digging methods

Example: If you know that you are going to be excavating at a certain depth, use hand tools to expose a window in the Earth down to that depth and then open the window two feet on each side of the marked facility.

This procedure may expose other facilities that were unmarked. If you encounter unmarked facilities, immediately halt excavation activities and contact the Utilities Protection Center so facility owner/operators can dispatch locate technicians to the site.


Directional Boring or Directional Drilling excavators should always properly expose and support each utility facility crossing. Do not count on luck. Many damages occur as a result of failure to pothole these crossings. It is your responsibility, do it!


Marked lines are your responsibility to avoid. Excuses are few and costs are high.
Having problems? – do your self a favor, call back and arrange a meeting on the jobsite with the utility owner/operators.

Responsibilities of the excavator according to the law

• Notify the UPC on business days between the hours of 7:00 am and 4:30 pm for locate requests. Calling in or entering locate requests over the Internet after 4:30 pm will be considered entered on the next business day. (Exact language found in §25-9-6)

• The Law allows the facility owner/operator a second chance to respond to a locate request if they have not responded by the due date and time.This second chance begins at 7:00 am and ends at 12:00 noon on the day the locate request becomes legal. If no obvious indications of unmarked facilities exist, excavation may begin with due care after the 12:00 noon deadline has expired. (Exact language found in §25-9-7(d))

• Notify the UPC for a second request after 12:00 noon on the legal dig date if obvious indications of unmarked utilities exist and wait for the facilities to be marked. (Exact language found in §25-9-7(d))

• Properly expose and support any utility facility when excavating in the tolerance zone. (Exact language found in §25-9-8(b))

• Notify the UPC if the original locate request does not indicate blasting will occur and it is later determined that blasting will occur. A new locate request will be issued due to the change in scope of work. (Exact language found in §25-9-6(e)).

• Immediately notify the UPC and the affected facility owner/operator if a damage occurs and cease all non-emergency excavation until a qualified technician repairs the damage. Remember, all facility damages, no matter how minor they may appear, must be reported to the UPC and the affected facility owner/operator immediately. (Exact language found in §25-9-8(c)).

Emergency Response

If you strike or damage a hazardous utility facility such as natural gas, oil, steam, liquid petroleum, power lines, etc., a best practice would be to evacuate the immediate area and immediately call 911, then notify the UPC and the affected facility owner/operator. This will allow specially trained emergency response teams to secure the area. It may seem over-protective to take such measures but many lives have been lost as a result of waiting to call 911.


Never attempt to stop the flow of natural gas or other hazardous materials by plugging, bending or taping pipes or by any other means. Under occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) and other federal laws and rules, you could be held accountable. You also jeopardize your life and the lives of others. Many explosions and ignitions have occurred as a result of this practice, resulting in countless fatalities and injuries. Directional drill operators should never attempt to reverse the bore rod when a utility facility damage has been determined. Ignition and/or further damage could occur. Please allow qualified utility repair technicians to determine proper bore rod remount. Play it Safe...Play by the Rules.

Emergency Locate Requests

The Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act defines an emergency as an immediate threat to life, health or property. Any person calling in an emergency must specifically identify the dangerous condition involved.

• Indicate if a crew is on site or in route.

• Indicate estimated time of crew arrival.

• Indicate name and contact number of foreman.

• The request will be issued for the immediate work only.

• Response times are not guaranteed.

• Reporting a false emergency can lead to a $10,000.00 fine.

Depth of Facilities

Neither the facility owner/operators nor the UPC has information on the depth of utility facilities. Never assume that a utility facility is the same depth throughout its route as where it was exposed.


Please also be aware that there are lines found just a few inches under the surface. Most likely they were originally buried at a prescribed depth but, over the years, through grading operations or other actions, they are now just beneath the surface. Always hand dig, soft dig or vacuum excavate in the tolerance zone, do not "just take off the first foot or so with the backhoe."

Proper Call Procedure

Contact the UPC by calling 1-800-282-7411 outside the Atlanta Metro area or 770-623-4344 inside the Atlanta Metro area. #DIG is a free call on many cellular systems.

• Log on to to obtain a password to enter locate requests through the Internet

• The ticket size policy can be obtained by logging on to, or by calling the UPC directly.

Have the following information ready before calling:

• Area code and phone number

• First and last name

• Type of work to be performed

• Name of company or resident for whom the work will be performed

• Name of the county and city where the work will take place

• State whether the main address is inside or outside of the city limits

• Name of the street and address where the work will take place

• Name of the nearest intersecting cross street to the main address

• Indicate specific locating instructions when possible

• Indicate if you will perform horizontal boring or blasting

• Indicate if you will be working within ten feet of any overhead power lines and if so, indicate the starting and ending date that overhead protection will be needed

• Indicate how long the excavation portion of the work will take

• Provide grid information if applicable

You will then be given the following information:

• Legal date and time to proceed with excavation

• Expiration date

• Restake date

• List of facility owner/operators that will be notified

• Locate Request number

What happens after the call is made?

• The information is dispatched to the member utilities

The member utilities mark their facility by the due date and time, if possible, and indicate what they have done through the Positive Response Information System

Positive Response

• #1 Marked

• #2 Marked with exceptions

• #2A High profile utility in conflict, utility owner owner will attempt to contact you within within 24 hours to set up site surveillance.

• #2B Privately owned facilities on property, contact private facility owner directly or call UPC for a listing of private locate contractors in you area.

• #3 Unmarked

• #3A Locate technician could not gain access to property; contact UPC to obtain a new ticket.

• #3B Incorrect address information; contact UPC to obtain a new ticket.

• #3C Locate technician & contractor have agreed to meet on site on a specific date.

• #3D High profile utility in conflict, utility owner will attempt to contact you within 24 hours to set up site surveillance.

• #3E Unrestrained animal on property, call UPC for a new ticket.

• #3F Marking delay requested by locate technician and agreed to by contractor.

• #3G On-going job, locate technician and contractor have established an agreement on scheduled marking.

• #3H Privately owned facilities on property, contact the private facility owner directly or call UPC for a listing of private locate contractors in your area.

• #3I Marking instructions unclear, call UPC for a new ticket.

• #3J Extraordinary circumstances exist, contact the utility owner/operator directly for details. directly for details.

• #3K Not service provider for this location.

• #4 Clear, no facilities.

• #5 No conflict, utility is outside of requested work site.

• #6 No locate required due to contractual arrangement between excavator and utility owner/operator.

• #7 Facility owner/operator refuses to locate.

Responsibilities of the Facility Owner/Operator
The Utility Companies are required to:

Respond to all locate requests by the legal response date unless extraordinary circumstances exist.
Extraordinary circumstances may include but shall not be limited to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, ice or snow storms and acts of God Use flags, water based paint, stakes or other suitable materials in varying combinations in order to clearly identify the route of the facility.


The Georgia Public Service Commission shall enforce the Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act. If an excavator can demonstrate that a problem exists such as documented evidence that a facility owner/operator has failed to cooperate in locating their facilities according to the law or other violations, the excavator has a right to file a formal complaint to the Public Service Commission. The complaint form and instructions can be found at the Public Service Commission Website at (or at

The form can also be obtained by contacting:
Public Service Commission's Office of Pipeline Safety

47 Trinity Ave., Atlanta, Ga. 30334

Or by calling 1-800-282-5813, ext. 3-6526 (Ga only) or 404-463-6526.

Please use this process after exhausting all other means of resolving the issue.

Equipment Signage

The Public Service Commission reminds all excavators in the State of Georgia to adopt this recommended best practice issued by the Commission.


Make signs displaying the contractor's name and facility owner name (if applicable) for whom they are working. Display these signs on all equipment. This courteous gesture will help residents of the State better understand the excavation activities in their area as well as reduce the number of complaints to facility owners and the Public Service Commission.

Hours of Operation

The UPC is open from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and web access is usually available twenty fours hours per day, three hundred sixty-five days per year (24/365). The UPC is closed on the following holidays as provided by law.

  • New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, The Friday following Thanksgiving day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day