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One Call changes taking effect, 811 Day at State Fair

From staff reports

811 flag in foreground with a blurred worker in the backgroundAugust represents a significant timeframe for the North Dakota One Call (NDOC) system. On Aug. 1, a set of legislative changes to NDOC become effective. Also, NDOC, along with 22 sponsoring companies, hosts 811 Day at the North Dakota State Fair July 28 for the third consecutive year.

Legislative changes take effect Aug. 1

NDOC is the statewide direct notification system established to inform all North Dakota underground facility owner-operators of intended excavation.

The North Dakota Century Code requires anyone who engages in any type of excavation, with certain exemptions, to provide notice of at least 48 hours in advance (excluding weekends and holidays) to NDOC. Through NDOC, this message is conveyed to the operator of underground facilities in the excavation area, which then has 48 hours to mark the presence of its facilities in that area.

Anyone planning to excavate is required to notify NDOC, either by calling 811 or 800-795-0555, or going online at www.NDONECALL.com.

“Our main message continues to be ‘Click or Call Before You Dig’ and our main goal with the message is to keep people safe,” says Ryan Schmaltz, NDOC director of public relations.

Brooks Goodall, chief operations officer for Reservation Telephone Cooperative, Parshall, is the representative for rural telecommunications cooperatives and companies on the NDOC board of directors.

Schmaltz indicates recent years of new construction in North Dakota revealed some issues with NDOC operation. Over the last couple of years, a stakeholders group worked together, discussing possible changes to the NDOC process. The stakeholders group included representatives of utilities, construction and excavation companies and pipeline companies, among others. The stakeholders came to agreement on a set of proposed changes in Century Code provisions concerning NDOC.

The 2017 Legislature passed and the governor signed into law 12 changes to NDOC (all found in NDCC Chapter 49, Section 23).

In general, Schmaltz says the changes in the NDOC law reflect a fair sharing of some new responsibilities to be borne by both excavators and operators of underground facilities. He cites three new provisions which reflect this:

• Locate times: Clarifies start time of the locate period as the later of: 48 hours beginning at 12:01 a.m. the day after the request is submitted to the notification center, plus any 24-hour extension provided through the notification center, or the period between the submission of the locate request to the notification center and the noted date and time of excavation.

Schmaltz indicates this change stems from the desire of utilities and locators to have some more time to complete facility locate requests.

• Positive response: Requires facility operators to post their progress in marking underground facilities, in an area requested by an excavator. Schmaltz indicates this benefits excavators, who no longer have to guess which facility owners have responded to the excavation request.

• Site identification: Requires an excavator to identify the area to be excavated by physical or electronic means, or other means as agreed upon by the parties to the NDOC ticket.

Schmaltz indicates this requires excavators to provide specific information about the exact work zone area where excavation is planned.

The full set of 12 legislative changes may be viewed at: www.ndonecall.com/law-changes/.

811 Day at State Fair

Friday, July 28, is 811 Day at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot. Hosting a State Fair day for the third consecutive year, N.D. One Call will be providing demonstrations in the SRT State Fair Park. This day under the festival tent will feature educational sessions and fun giveaways for the entire family, as NDOC proclaims its core message: “Click or Call Before You Dig!”

“North Dakota One Call will have the 811 car and bike in the State Fair parade, on Saturday, July 22, and then on Friday, July 28, we are pleased to be hosting 811 Day at the fair, for the third year in a row,” Schmaltz says. He says 22 corporate sponsors are helping convey the NDOC/811 message that day.