Whether you are a homeowner or professional excavator, be sure to call 811 at least two business days before digging to get free locates of your underground utility lines. Each damage has the potential to cause serious injuries and can be costly to repair. One free, easy call gets your utility lines marked AND helps protect you from injury and unnecessary expense.
WHY call 811?
Alaska law (AS 42.30.400) requires you to call 811 at least two days before digging. You also reduce the risk of injury and unnecessary expense.
WHEN do you call 811?
Anytime you dig. Alaska law defines “excavation” as an activity in which earth, rock, or other material on or below the ground is moved or otherwise displaced by any means. The most common causes of gas line damage from homeowners are:
WHO calls 811?
Everyone. Whether you are a homeowner or professional excavator, you are required to call 811 before you start digging.
HOW does 811 work?
Give the following info when you request the locate: your name, address, phone number, and email address, the project’s start date & time, description, expected duration and purpose. Keep the locate ID number as your documentation for the call. Wait two days for the locates to be completed. If you have any questions, call ENSTAR at 907-277-5551.
Damage Prevention Rules (State and Federal)
Since 2016, standards for excavation in Alaska have been enforced by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The enforcement program protects the public from the risk of pipeline ruptures caused by excavation damage.
Who is an Excavator?
Per Alaska law, anyone planning an outdoor project that requires digging, regardless of the depth or size of the project, is considered an excavator. This includes both professional excavating companies and general homeowners.
What is Excavation Damage?
- A partial or complete break of a pipeline to the extent that ENSTAR determines repairs should be made.
- Penetration, impairment, or destruction of any pipeline protective coating, housing, or other protective device.
- Substantial weakening of the pipeline structural or lateral support (removal of too much dirt around the area of the pipeline leaving it vulnerable to damage).
- Failure to properly replace the backfill surrounding an underground pipe.
What is the Tolerance Zone?
Alaska law (AS 42.30.410c) defines the tolerance zone as the two feet on either side of the locate. For excavations deeper than 10 feet, the tolerance zone extends to 30 inches on either side the locate.
Excavation Requirements (State and Federal)
- Call 811 before you dig.
- Call for new locates if the marks are no longer visible.
- Hand digging is advised when excavating within the tolerance zone.
- Locates expire after 15 days. If your work is not completed during that time, call 811 and have them re-done.
- If you damage a line, report it to ENSTAR immediately.
When do you need to call for an Emergency Locate?
Three common situations that require emergency locates are: when your septic system is backing up, when you have a water line break, or have damage to an unidentified pipeline. In one of these situations you should call 811 for same-day, emergency locates.
What to do if you Damage a Pipeline
If there is escaping gas, immediately clear the area and call 911. Report the damage to ENSTAR by calling the 24-hour emergency line: 1-844-SMELL GAS (1-844-763-5542).
Always call, even if you suspect the damage to be minor. A small scrape or stretched pipe can cause problems in the future. ENSTAR does not charge for repairs to pipe coating or locate wire.
Consequences for Non-compliance
Failure to call 811 can result in state fines of up to $1,000 AND federal fines of up to $200,000 PER violation. Civil and criminal charges can also be imposed.
For more information on safe digging, 811, or to request a locate online, visit www.811ak.com.
Feeling confident in your 811 knowledge? Take our 811 quiz for chance to win a $50 gift card!