Excavation Guidelines for Excavators

Excavator Guidelines

Texas law requires all damage to pipelines caused by excavators to be reported by both the pipeline operator and the person digging around the pipeline. If you are digging near a pipeline, you are considered to be an excavator. Operators and excavators that are not in compliance with Chapter 18 can be cited violations and penalties of up to $10,000 per day per violation under these rules.

Preventing & Reporting Pipeline Damage

Why call?
Texas law requires you to call 811 at least 48 hours before you dig. There is no cost for this service.

What does digging mean?
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.

Who has to call?
Everyone. Even if the excavation is going to be done on private property, in an easement or right-of-way, or on top of the “original” grade, a locate must be requested.

When you call...
Be ready to give the following information:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Fax number
  • E-mail address
  • Date and start time
  • Project Description
  • Duration of project
  • Location of project
  • Reason for digging

Save the locate ticket number, the one-call notification center gives you. This is your documentation that you called before digging.

Things to know

  • Whitelining the job site before you call 811 is recommended.
  • The excavator shall protect and preserve locate markings throughout the life of the ticket.
  • Mechanized equipment is not allowed within the excavation tolerance zone. This area is 18 inches on either side of the edge of the gas or electric facility.

After you call

  • Wait 48 hours (additional time for weekends and legal holidays)
  • Make a record of the positive response
  • Make a second notice if required by Chap. 18.4 (e)
  • Routine locate ticket if required (the current ticket must be valid during the 48 hour waiting period)
  • Refresh the locate ticket if required (the current ticket must be valid during the 48 hour waiting period)
  • Respect and protect all the markers (if marks are removed or destroyed, new locates must be requested)
  • Always dig with care in the tolerance zone as defined in Chap. 18.2