There is no worse feeling than accidentally cutting through a buried pipeline or telecommunications cable. It’s expensive and in the case of buried petroleum, gas or electric mains, it can be fatal, too.Texas has over 425,000 miles of buried pipelines and cables – they’re everywhere, and more are put down every day. Protecting that buried infrastructure from damage is where Texas811 comes in. Texas811 is the non-profit “call before you dig” entity in Texas and is part of the nationally mandated 811 system headquartered at call811.com. Even the simple act of a homeowner planting a tree or putting in a fence using hand shovels or post hole diggers could end with a severed telecommunications line or punctured gas or water line. Before you break the ground, get your modification approved by your friendly Compliance Coordinator and then call 811. An operator will take your dig site information and contact relevant utilities. In turn, the utilities will paint and/or flag the approximate location of their buried lines, alerting you to what’s below. When you return to put up that fence or plant that tree, you’ll see markings or colored flags indicating where NOT to dig.
Homeowners can now fill out the request form online with an easy-to-use question/answer format. Like the rest of Texas811’s services, it’s available 24/7/365. The Homeowner Portal improves safety and damage prevention as its “ease-of-use” encourages more homeowners to participate in the 811 program.The Texas811 Homeowner Portal is located at www.texas811.org/homeowner.
Effective Sept. 1, 2007, the Railroad Commission adopted Title 16, Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Part I Chapter 18 entitled Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention to increase pipeline safety in Texas and to reduce damage to underground pipelines resulting from the movement of earth by persons in the vicinity of those pipelines, which is the number one cause of pipeline incidents in the state.
Texas law requires you to call 811 at least 48 hours before you dig/excavate, excluding weekends and legal holidays. There is no cost to the caller. 16 TAC Chapter 18 defines excavation as the movement of earth by any means. This includes inserting, moving, or removing any object in the ground, even fence posts, rods, stakes, picks, shovels or other hand tools.
When a pipeline is damaged, notify the pipeline operator immediately through the One-Call Notification Center (811) within two hours of the incident. Pipeline damage includes but is not limited to: 1. Defacing, scraping, displacement, penetration, destruction, or partial or complete severance of an underground pipeline or of any protective coating, housing, or other protective device of an underground pipeline; 2. Weakening of structural or lateral support of an underground pipeline that affects the integrity of the pipeline; or 3. Failure to properly replace the backfill surrounding an underground pipeline. A Texas Damage Reporting Form (TDRF) must be filed with the Railroad Commission at www.rrc.texas.gov within 10 working days of the incident. A working day is every day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.