Thomas L. Bean
Larry C. Brown
The Ohio Utilities Protection Law establishes procedures for planning and conducting excavations near underground utility facilities. The purpose of the law is to reduce damage to gas, water, oil, steam, telephone, cable television, and sewer lines. In addition, and perhaps more important, the law may help save the lives of those who unknowingly come in contact with dangerous utility facilities during excavation work. This fact sheet is provided to assist the public in understanding the law. Definitions necessary to enhance this understanding are referenced on the back.
Any landowner or developer1 who is planning a project that may require excavation2 is required to notify the Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) (1-800-362-2764) of the location of the proposed excavation site. OUPS then notifies the appropriate utilities of the developer's plans. The law requires utilities3 to provide information to the developer on locations and other pertinent facts about their underground utility facility. The utility must determine if relocation, support, removal, or special protective steps are required with respect to its underground utilities during excavation.
If the developer has plans drawn for the project, all of the information required by the utilities, including names, addresses and telephone numbers, must be affixed to the plans. Whether or not plans are prepared, the information provided by the landowner or developer to the utility must be given to the excavator.4 The excavator is required to contact the protective services and utilities within at least 48 hours but not more than 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and state legal holidays) before excavation.
Each utility is required to notify the excavator that the utility has no facilities at the site or to mark the locations of their underground facilities in the area of the construction site within 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and state legal holidays) of receiving notice of pending excavation from the protective service or excavator. The utility will mark the approximate location of its underground utility facility in specific colors based on the type of facility (Figure 1.)
|Figure 1. Type of Underground Utility Facility||Color|
|Electric power transmission and distribution||Safety red|
|Gas and oil transmission and distribution lines, dangerous materials, product lines and steam lines||High-visibility safety yellow|
|Telephone and telegraph systems, police an fire communications, cable television||Safety-alert orange|
|Water system; slurry systems||Safety-precaution blue|
|Sewer lines Safety green||Safety Green|
|All proposed construction or excavation markings shall be in white.|
Under the law, the excavator has several responsibilities:
This fact sheet is provided to help promote public safety through understanding of a new Ohio state law and to prevent damage to underground utility facilities during excavations. There are a number of additional explanations and qualifications in the final version of the law. One provision of the law is currently being debated in the state legislature. The provision would eliminate the required participation in a one-call service by the utility and is to be effective Jan. 1, 1991.
To read the entire Ohio Utility Protection Law, see the Ohio Revised Code, Sections 3781.25 to 3781.32. For additional information or clarification, call the Ohio Utilities Protection Service at 1 -800-362-2764.
All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status.
Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Adm. and Director, OSU Extension.
TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-6181