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.

New Regulation on Power Tool Use in the Tolerance Zone Delayed

  • A new regulation that would allow some power tools, such as certain clay spade diggers, to be used to find buried infrastructure has been delayed until October 1. The hand tool-only requirement remains in effect until then. To see the draft regulation, click here.

Important changes effective January 1st 2020

4216.3 (c), 4216.3 (d), 4216.3 (e), 4216.3 (f)
  • (c) (1) (A) On and after January 1, 2021, every operator shall supply an electronic positive response through the regional notification center before the legal excavation start date and time. Upon a showing of good cause by an operator, the board may extend the time by which the operator is required to comply with this requirement. The board shall not grant an extension beyond December 31, 2021. The board shall determine which facts or circumstances constitute good cause.
  • (B) The regional notification center shall make the responses required by subparagraph (A) available to the excavator.
  • (2) The regional notification centers shall annually report to the board regarding their continual technological development in their roles of facilitating communication between excavators and operators in a manner that enhances safety, accountability, and efficiency.
  • (d) (1) On or before January 1, 2021, the board shall adopt regulations to implement subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c). The initial adoption, amendment, or repeal of a regulation authorized by this section is deemed to address an emergency, for purposes of Sections 11346.1 and 11349.6, and the board is hereby exempted for that purpose from the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 11346.1. After the initial adoption, amendment, or repeal of an emergency regulation pursuant to this section, the board shall not request approval from the Office of Administrative Law to readopt the regulation as an emergency regulation pursuant to Section 11346.1.
  • (2) It is the intent of the Legislature, in authorizing the deviations in this section from the requirements and procedures of Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2, to authorize the board to expedite the exercise of its power to implement regulations as its unique operational circumstances require.
  • (e) The excavator shall notify the appropriate regional notification center of the failure of an operator to identify subsurface installations pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), or subdivision (b). The notification shall include the ticket issued by the regional notification center. A record of all notifications received pursuant to this subdivision shall be maintained by the regional notification center for a period of not less than three years. The record shall be available for inspection pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 4216.2.
  • (f) If an operator or local agency knows that it has a subsurface installation embedded or partially embedded in the pavement that is not visible from the surface, the operator or local agency shall contact the excavator before pavement removal to communicate and determine a plan of action to protect that subsurface installation and excavator.

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.