2019 Florida Statutes
(1)(a) Not less than 2 full business days before beginning any excavation or demolition that is not beneath the waters of the state, and not less than 10 full business days before beginning any excavation or demolition that is beneath the waters of the state, an excavator shall provide the following information through the system:
1. The name of the individual who provided notification and the name, address, including the street address, city, state, zip code, and telephone number of her or his employer.
2. The name and telephone number of the representative for the excavator, and a valid electronic address to facilitate a positive response by the system should be provided, if available.
3. The county, the city or closest city, and the street address or the closest street, road, or intersection to the location where the excavation or demolition is to be performed, and the construction limits of the excavation or demolition.
4. The commencement date and anticipated duration of the excavation or demolition.
5. Whether machinery will be used for the excavation or demolition.
6. The person or entity for whom the work is to be done.
7. The type of work to be done.
8. The approximate depth of the excavation.
(b) The excavator shall provide the information by notifying the system through its free-access notification system during business hours, as determined by the corporation, or by such other method as authorized by the corporation. Any notification received by the system at any time other than during business hours shall be considered to be received at the beginning of the next business day.
(c) Information provided by an excavator is valid for 30 calendar days after the date such information is provided to the system. In computing the period for which information furnished is valid, the date the notice is provided is not counted, but the last day of the period shall be counted unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, in which event, the period runs until the end of the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday.
(d) Member operators shall use the information provided to the system by other member operators only for the purposes stated in this chapter and not for sales or marketing purposes.
(2) Each notification by means of the system shall be recorded to document compliance with this chapter. Such record may be made by means of electronic, mechanical, or any other method of all incoming and outgoing wire and oral communications concerning location requests in compliance with chapter 934. The records shall be kept for 5 years and, upon written request, shall be available to the excavator making the request, the member operator intended to receive the request, and their agents. However, custody of the records may not be transferred from the system except under subpoena.
(3) The system shall provide the person who provided notification with the names of the member operators who shall be advised of the notification and a notification number that specifies the date and time of the notification.
(4) The notification number provided to the excavator under this section shall be provided to any law enforcement officer, government code inspector, or code enforcement officer upon request.
(5) All member operators within the defined area of a proposed excavation or demolition shall be promptly notified through the system, except that member operators with state-owned underground facilities located within the right-of-way of a state highway need not be notified of excavation or demolition activities and are under no obligation to mark or locate the facilities.
(a) If a member operator determines that a proposed excavation or demolition is in proximity to or in conflict with an underground facility of the member operator, except a facility beneath the waters of the state, which is governed by paragraph (b), the member operator shall identify the horizontal route by marking to within 24 inches from the outer edge of either side of the underground facility by the use of stakes, paint, flags, or other suitable means within 2 full business days after the time the notification is received under subsection (1). If the member operator is unable to respond within such time, the member operator shall communicate with the person making the request and negotiate a new schedule and time that is agreeable to, and should not unreasonably delay, the excavator.
(b) If a member operator determines that a proposed excavation is in proximity to or in conflict with an underground facility of the member operator beneath the waters of the state, the member operator shall identify the estimated horizontal route of the underground facility, within 10 business days, using marking buoys or other suitable devices, unless directed otherwise by an agency having jurisdiction over the waters of the state under which the member operator’s underground facility is located.
(c) When excavation is to take place within a tolerance zone, an excavator shall use increased caution to protect underground facilities. The protection requires hand digging, pot holing, soft digging, vacuum excavation methods, or other similar procedures to identify underground facilities. Any use of mechanized equipment within the tolerance zone must be supervised by the excavator.
(6)(a) An excavator shall avoid excavation in the area described in the notice given under subsection (1) until each member operator underground facility has been marked and located or until the excavator has been notified that no member operator has underground facilities in the area described in the notice, or for the time allowed for markings set forth in paragraphs (5)(a) and (b), whichever occurs first. If a member operator has not located and marked its underground facilities within the time allowed for marking set forth in paragraphs (5)(a) and (b), the excavator may proceed with the excavation, if the excavator does so with reasonable care and if detection equipment or other acceptable means to locate underground facilities are used.
(b) An excavator may not demolish in the area described in the notice given under subsection (1) until all member operator underground facilities have been marked and located or removed.
(7)(a) A member operator that states that it does not have accurate information concerning the exact location of its underground facilities is exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (5)(a) and (b), but shall provide the best available information to the excavator in order to comply with the requirements of this section. An excavator is not liable for any damage to an underground facility under the exemption in this subsection if the excavation or demolition is performed with reasonable care and detection equipment or other acceptable means to locate underground facilities are used.
(b) A member operator may not exercise the exemption provided by this subsection if the member operator has underground facilities that have not been taken out of service and that are locatable using available designating technologies to locate underground facilities.
(8)(a) If extraordinary circumstances exist, a member operator shall notify the system of the member operator’s inability to comply with this section. For the purposes of this section, the term “extraordinary circumstances” means circumstances other than normal operating conditions that exist and make it impractical for a member operator to comply with this chapter. After the system has received notification of a member operator’s inability to comply, the system shall make that information known to excavators who subsequently notify the system of an intent to excavate. The member operator is relieved of responsibility for compliance under the law during the period that the extraordinary circumstances exist and shall promptly notify the system when the extraordinary circumstances cease to exist.
(b) During the period when extraordinary circumstances exist, the system shall remain available during business hours to provide information to governmental agencies, member operators affected by the extraordinary circumstances, and member operators who can provide relief to the affected parties, unless the system itself has been adversely affected by extraordinary circumstances.
(9)(a) After receiving notification from the system, a member operator shall provide a positive response to the system within 2 full business days, or 10 such days for an underwater excavation or demolition, indicating the status of operations to protect the facility.
(b) The system shall establish and maintain a process to facilitate a positive-response communication between member operators and excavators. The system is exempt from any requirement to initiate a positive response to an excavator when an excavator does not provide a valid electronic address to facilitate a positive response by the system.
(c) An excavator shall verify the system’s positive responses before beginning excavation. If an excavator knows that an existing underground facility of a member operator is in the area, the excavator must contact the member operator if the facility is not marked and a positive response has not been received by the system.
(10) A member operator shall use the “Uniform Color Code for Utilities” of the American Public Works Association when marking the horizontal route of any underground facility of the operator.
(11) Before or during excavation or demolition, if the marking of the horizontal route of any facility is removed or is no longer visible, or, in the case of an underwater facility, is inadequately documented, the excavator shall stop excavation or demolition activities in the vicinity of the facility and shall notify the system to have the route remarked or adequately documented by a member operator or in a manner approved by the member operator.
(12)(a) If any contact with or damage to any pipe, cable or its protective covering, or any other underground facility occurs, the excavator causing the contact or damage shall immediately notify the member operator. If contact with or damage to an underground pipe or any other underground facility results in the escape of any natural gas or other hazardous substance or material regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the United States Department of Transportation, the excavator must immediately report the contact or damage by calling the 911 emergency telephone number. Upon receiving notice, the member operator shall send personnel to the location as soon as possible to effect temporary or permanent repair of the contact or damage. Until such time as the contact or damage has been repaired, the excavator shall cease excavation or demolition activities that may cause further damage to such underground facility.
(b) If an event damages any pipe, cable or its protective covering, or other underground facility, the member operator receiving the notice shall file a report with the system. Reports must be submitted annually to the system, no later than March 31 for the prior calendar year, or more frequently at the option and sole discretion of the member operator. Each report must describe, if known, the cause, nature, and location of the damage. The system shall establish and maintain a process to facilitate submission of reports by member operators.
(13) Any costs or expenses associated with compliance by an excavator with the requirements in this section applicable to excavators shall not be charged to any member operator. Any costs or expenses associated with compliance by a member operator with the requirements in this section applicable to member operators shall not be charged to any excavator. No person shall charge the costs or expenses prohibited by this subsection after the effective date of this act. This subsection shall not excuse a member operator or excavator from liability for any damage or injury for which it would be responsible under applicable law.
History.—s. 5, ch. 93-240; s. 1, ch. 96-172; s. 1176, ch. 97-103; s. 5, ch. 97-306; s. 4, ch. 2002-234; s. 5, ch. 2006-138; s. 1, ch. 2008-230; s. 115, ch. 2010-5; s. 3, ch. 2010-100; s. 2, ch. 2017-102.