Call Before You Dig (CBYD)

1-800-922-4455, or Dial 811
Call 2 full working days in advance to locate buried utility pipes and cables.
  Penalties for non-compliance are substantial.

Substantially revised in 2014, with an effective date of Oct. 1, 2015, the new CBYD law is contained in sections 38-47 of Public Act 14-94.  The following summary from the legislature's nonpartisan legislative research office follows:

§§ 38-47 undefined CALL BEFORE YOU DIG

The bill expands the scope of, and makes several other changes to, the state's Call Before You Dig program, which requires utility companies to file the locations of their underground facilities (e.g., pipelines) with a central clearinghouse operated by PURA. People must notify the clearinghouse before commencing certain projects. The clearinghouse notifies the utility, which provides the person, public agency, or other utility with its facilities' approximate underground location. By law, those who violate provisions of statutes pertaining to Call Before You Dig may be subject to civil penalties.

Covered Utilities and Projects

The bill changes the definition of “public utility” to (1) include owners or operators of underground facilities that furnish communications and fire signal services and (2) exclude owners of facilities that provide a utility service solely for the owner's private residence. It also broadens the definition by including services similar to those already specified.

Any person, public agency, or public utility must currently notify the central clearinghouse when they propose to excavate, discharge explosives at or near the location of public utility facilities, or demolish a structure containing a public utility facility. This bill expands that requirement to include all discharge of explosives, regardless of location, and all demolitions. It also expands the definition of “excavating” to include reclamation processes, milling, and dredging (except for dredging associated with the production and harvesting of aquaculture crops).

Underground Facility Locations

When a utility is providing someone with the approximate location of its underground facilities, current law requires it to identify a strip of land under three feet wide. The bill increases the location's precision by requiring the strip of land to be centered on the underground facility's actual location.

Currently, public utilities must file the location of their underground facilities (except for storm sewers) with PURA by reference to a standard grid system. This bill requires these public utilities to register the geographic areas in which they own or operate any underground facilities with the central clearinghouse by reference to a standard mapping system.

Notice Requirements

The bill also deletes statutory requirements concerning the timeline and methods for notifying the clearinghouse and instead directs PURA to promulgate regulations to govern this process. Current law requires notice to the clearinghouse when a project fails to start within the time allotted. The bill instead requires notice when the project does not end within that time.

Under certain emergency circumstances, current law allows an excavation or demolition to proceed without meeting the notice requirements as long as notice is given by telephone as soon as reasonably possible. The bill allows this notice to be given in any form.

Precautions for Combustible or Hazardous Fluids or Gases

Under current law, only hand digging can be used when gas facilities are likely to be exposed. The bill expands this precaution to cover facilities containing any combustible or hazardous fluids (e.g., oil) or gases, and requires such precautions whenever excavation is in the approximate location of these facilities. In addition to hand digging, it allows “soft digging,” which it defines as a non-mechanical and nondestructive process to excavate and evacuate soils at a controlled rate using high pressure water or an air jet to break up the soil.


By law, when damage to a public utility's underground facility is suspected, the person or utility responsible for causing the damage must immediately notify the utility that owns the facility.

Current law defines “damage” as including the substantial weakening of structural or lateral support of a utility line. The bill expands that definition to include any utility facility and specifies that the substantial weakening imperils the continued integrity of the facility.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

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