Happy New Year from all of us at Gopher State One Call (GSOC). We had a great year in 2018 helping Minnesotans excavate safely. 2019 brings updates for our organization, including a brand-new logo!
GSOC is pleased to introduce our new look, while providing the same reliable damage prevention services. As we enter this new year, let’s review some safe excavation reminders!
One of the most important things for any excavator to understand is the law. According to the Minnesota Statute 216D.04:
Except in an emergency, an excavator shall and a land surveyor may contact the notification center and provide notice at least 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays and not more than 14 calendar days before beginning any excavation or boundary survey.
Click here for the full legislative statute.
GSOC works every day to streamline the notification process, in addition to promoting the 811 “Click or Call Before You Dig” safety message. To practice safe excavation in Minnesota, follow these steps before each time you break ground:
- Identify your excavation zone with white markings (paint, flags, whiskers, etc.) MN 216D.05 requires that excavators white-line the proposed excavation area to help locators properly mark buried lines. When there is snow on the ground, an excavator can use markings in different colors not specified in the APWA Color Code as an alternative to pre-marking with white. Remember to indicate the use of alternate colored markings on your locate request and at the site. Uploading an image, text, or shape file when submitting an online ticket via ITIC is a supplemental digital method to identify the excavation boundaries.
- Contact GSOC to submit a locate request at least 48 hours before the excavation. Always check for accuracy and make sure to use the correct work type on your ticket. Please note that the 48-hour notice does not include weekends and holidays.
To call in a locate request:
651-454-0002 Twin Cities Metro
800-252-1166 Greater MN Area
Or file online here.
- Wait until all underground utilities are marked. Always check the status of your ticket before you excavate. The Search and Status button is located on the home page of our website. Confirm that each utility notified has marked or responded.
- Respect the marks. Always do your best to maintain the markings left by locators to help ensure accuracy.
- Hand dig in the tolerance zone. Determine the exact location of buried lines by using hand tools within the tolerance zone, the 24” area on either side of an underground utility from the outer edge of the utility itself (see graphic below).
- Dig safely using proven excavating methods.
Remember that not everything gets marked when you call GSOC. We encourage excavators to be aware of any and all private utility lines buried in the excavation area. The Minnesota Statute requires operators of lines buried in the public right-of-way (public facility operators) to join GSOC, thus, the free locating service offered through GSOC does not apply to privately-owned facilities. If the property owner or tenant has any type of private underground facility, they are responsible for locating these facilities themselves or hiring a private locator to mark them for a fee. Examples of private underground facilities include lines that serve outbuildings, hot tubs, security lighting, and more. Click here for a list of private locators.
There are three commonly-used types of notification tickets available in Minnesota:
- Locate Requests (Normal) are for standard or routine excavations, where you expect to complete the work and go on to the next job, such as work at a single address or when you have little to no need to communicate with the locators. These are the most common types of tickets that GSOC processes.
- Emergency Locates should only be filed in the event of a life/ health-threatening situation or risk of property loss. Always call 911 first if there is a release of flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas, or when a dangerous situation is created. Secondly, notify the affected facility operators, and finally, contact GSOC to file an Emergency Locate to prevent further damage.
- Meet Requests are for excavators to request that the affected facility operator(s) physically meet at the excavation site. Excavators should request a Meet when ongoing communication with locators is needed, such as projects where various sections will need to be marked at different times, the project is going to last for more than a month, or the site has a complicated layout. Meet tickets can be valid for up to six months if the excavator makes arrangements with all affected operators to periodically verify or refresh the marks. Documentation of the Meet must be maintained by the excavator. Click here to access a sample form of Meet documentation.
Complying with the law is easier to do than ever before. Excavators can file tickets by calling GSOC, going online, or using a mobile device. Always put safety first by contacting GSOC “this time and every time” before starting an excavation project!