California Law

View CA Government Code 4216
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California State Law Says, You Must Contact DigAlert Before You Dig!

Failure to do so can result in fines up to fifty thousand dollars and you could be charged with the repair costs of damaged underground facility. Why risk it? Contact DigAlert before you dig and they will notify all of its members having underground facilities within the delineated area.

Important changes effective January 1st 2021

4216.2 (f)

(f) A record of all notifications by an excavator or operator to the regional notification center shall be maintained for a period of not less than three years. The record shall be available for inspection by the excavator and any member, or their representative, during normal working hours and according to guidelines for inspection as may be established by the regional notification centers. A regional notification center shall provide notification records to the board quarterly and shall provide notifications of damage to the board within five business days of receipt at the regional notification center.

4216.3 (a) (5)

(5) Commencing January 1, 2023, all new subsurface installations shall be mapped using a geographic information system and maintained as permanent records of the operator. This paragraph shall not apply to oil and gas flowlines three inches or less in diameter that are located within the administrative boundaries of an oil field as designated by the Geologic Energy Management Division. For purposes of this paragraph, the following terms have the following meanings: (A) “Flowline” means any pipeline that connects an oil, gas, or natural gas liquids well with a gathering line or header. (B) “Gathering line” means a pipeline that transports liquid hydrocarbons between any of the following: multiple wells, a testing facility, a treating and production facility, a storage facility, or a custody transfer facility. (C) “Header” means a chamber from which liquid or gas is distributed to or from smaller pipelines. (6) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to preempt the Professional Land Surveyors’ Act, as described in Chapter 15 (commencing with Section 8700) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code.

4216.4 (c)

(c) (1) An excavator discovering or causing damage to a subsurface installation, including all breaks, leaks, nicks, dents, gouges, grooves, or other damage to subsurface installation lines, conduits, coatings, or cathodic protection, shall immediately notify the subsurface installation operator. The excavator may contact the regional notification center to obtain the contact information of the subsurface installation operator. If the operator is unknown and the damage or discovery of damage occurs outside the working hours of the regional notification center, the excavator may follow the instructions provided by the regional notification center through its internet website or the telephone line recorded message. (2) An excavator shall call 911 emergency services upon discovering or causing damage to either of the following: (A) A gas or hazardous liquid pipeline subsurface installation in which the damage results in the escape of any flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas or liquid. (B) A high priority subsurface installation of any kind. (3) An excavator discovering or causing damage shall notify the regional notification center within 48 hours of discovering or causing the damage. (4) Nothing in this section preempts or impedes the board’s authority to impose more restrictive notification windows.

4216.6 (c) (d) (e) & (g)

(c) This article may also be enforced by the following agencies, either following a recommendation of the Dig Safe Board that the agency shall act to accept, amend, or reject, or through the agency’s own investigations, as follows: (1) The Registrar of Contractors of the Contractors’ State License Board shall enforce this article on contractors, as defined in Article 2 (commencing with Section 7025) of Chapter 9 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, and telephone corporations, as defined in Section 234 of the Public Utilities Code, when acting as a contractor, as defined in Article 2 (commencing with Section 7025) of Chapter 9 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code. Nothing in this section affects the Public Utilities Commission’s existing authority over a public utility. (2) The Public Utilities Commission shall enforce this article on gas corporations, as defined in Section 222 of the Public Utilities Code, and electrical corporations, as defined in Section 218 of the Public Utilities Code, and water corporations, as defined in Section 241 of the Public Utilities Code. (3) The Office of the State Fire Marshal shall enforce this article on operators of hazardous liquid pipeline facilities, as defined in Section 60101 of Chapter 601 of Subtitle VIII of Title 49 of the United States Code. (d) A local governing board may enforce this article on local agencies under the governing board’s jurisdiction. (e) Commencing July 1, 2020, the Dig Safe Board shall enforce this article on persons other than those listed in subdivisions (c) and (d). The board shall not initiate an enforcement action pursuant to this subdivision for a violation that occurred prior to July 1, 2020. As the enforcing body for persons other than those listed in subdivisions (c) and (d), the board may collect any monetary penalties imposed upon those persons. (g) Statewide information provided by operators and excavators regarding incident events shall be compiled and made available in an annual report by regional notification centers and posted on the internet websites of the regional notification centers and shall be made available to the board upon request.


(a) The Dig Safe Board is hereby created under, and shall be assisted by the staff of, the Office of the State Fire Marshal until January 1, 2022. On and after January 1, 2022, the board shall be within the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety within the Natural Resources Agency pursuant to Part 7.3 (commencing with Section 15470) of Division 3 of Title 2. (b) The board shall perform the following tasks: (1) Coordinate education and outreach activities that encourage safe excavation practices, as described in Section 4216.17. (2) Develop standards, as described in Section 4216.18. (3) Investigate possible violations of this article, as described in Section 4216.19. (4) Enforce this article to the extent authorized by subdivision (e) of Section 4216.6. (c) Notwithstanding any other law, on and after January 1, 2020, the board shall be subject to review by the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature at least once every three years.


(a) The board shall annually convene a meeting for the following purposes: (1) To understand the existing needs for education and outreach, including to those groups with the highest awareness and education needs, including, but not limited to, homeowners. (2) To facilitate discussion on how to coordinate existing education and outreach efforts with state and local government agencies, California operators, regional notification centers, and trade associations that fund outreach and education programs that encourage safe excavation practices. (b) In addition to state and local government agencies, California operators, regional notification centers, and trade associations that fund outreach and education programs that encourage safe excavation practices, the meeting pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include representatives of groups that may be the target of those outreach and education efforts. (c) For violations that are neither egregious nor persistent, the board shall offer violators the option of completing an educational course in lieu of paying a fine. To develop the programming for the educational option, the board may contract with a third party or create the curriculum itself. (d) Upon appropriation by the Legislature, moneys in the Safe Energy Infrastructure and Excavation Fund shall be available to the board to fund the educational course developed pursuant to subdivision (c).

But I have an emergency and I need to dig now!

California law requires that you call two (2) working days, not including the date of notification, before your planned excavation. However, if you are digging because of an EMERGENCY, you are not required by law to call. You should still consider calling in order to prevent damaging any other underground lines near your EMERGENCY dig site. An EMERGENCY situation does not relieve you of financial responsibilities for damaging underground facilities.

However keep in mind that under 4216 Definitions (f)(1) states...

"Emergency" means a sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services.
(2) "Unexpected occurrence" includes, but is not limited to, a fire, flood, earthquake or other soil or geologic movement, riot, accident, damage to a subsurface installation requiring immediate repair, or sabotage.

Digging without a DigAlert® ticket is just simply dangerous, not to mention illegal!

You can damage a basic telephone cable and disrupt service to a home or you may cut a fiber optic cable carrying millions of calls and expose your company to costly repairs. Plus there is the real possibility of an explosion from hitting a gas line or an electrocution from an electric line! Not only is expensive equipment ruined, but lives are put at risk.