Underground Utility Damage Prevention
Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act
The purpose of the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act is to prevent harm to people, property, and underground utility facilities. The provisions of the Act are codified in Tenn. Code Ann. § 65-31-101 et al. The Tennessee Public Utility Commission’s role is to assist the Underground Utility Damage Enforcement Board by providing administrative and investigative support.
Excavation or Demolition Projects
When planning an excavation/demolition project, contact Tennessee 811 to have underground utility lines marked before the project begins. Marking utility lines helps prevent injury to people as well as damage to property and infrastructure. There is no charge for requesting utility markings. Tennessee811 may be reached by dialing 811 or via the web at www.tennessee811.com/.
Before You Excavate or Demolish
- Mark the proposed excavation site in white; such as white flags, paint, or stakes.
- Contact Tennessee 811 by dialing 811 or visiting www.tennessee811.com/ to submit an electronic locate ticket. There is no charge for requesting utility markings.
- Tennessee811 will notify utility companies that service the excavation/demolition area. Utility companies have three (3) business days to mark the site. You will need to wait three (3) business days before excavating/demolishing. If after three (3) business days, there is no clear evidence of the presence of an unmarked utility; you may proceed, always using care not to damage underground facilities.
- If after three (3) business days, one or more operator has failed to mark their facilities and there is clear evidence of the presence of an unmarked utility, you must contact Tennessee811 with a second request. You may begin excavating/demolishing after notifying Tennessee811 of the unmarked utility, always using care not to damage underground facilities.
When Damage Occurs to Underground Utility Facilities
- In accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 65-31-111(b) each person responsible for damage which results in the escape of flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas or liquid must, immediately upon discovery, notify the operator, police, and fire departments, and take other actions reasonably necessary to protect persons and property and to minimize the hazards until arrival of the operator’s personnel or police and fire departments.
- In accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 65-31-111(a), each person responsible for any excavation or demolition operation described in Tenn. Code Ann. § 65-31-104 that results in damage to an underground utility must, immediately upon discovery of such damage, notify the operator/utility of the location and nature of the damage and must allow the operator/utility time to accomplish necessary repairs before completing the excavation or demolition in the immediate area of such utility.
- In accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 65-31-111(e), operators whose utility facilities have been damaged, must report the incident using the Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) utilized by the Common Ground Alliance.
- Anyone who has experienced or witnessed a probable violation of Tenn. Code Ann. §65-31-101 et al. may file a complaint with the Tennessee Public Utility Commission or by calling 615-741-2904. In order to ensure timely investigations, complaints must be filed within ninety (90) days of being made aware of an alleged violation of the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act.
Consumer Services Division