Virginia 811 supporting stakeholders during changes to the Damage Prevention Act
In the spirit of continuous improvement, stakeholders across Virginia met throughout 2022 to bring changes to the Damage Prevention Act. Partners in damage prevention, from the Virginia State Corporation Commission; the excavator, locator, and utility communities; and Virginia 811 recognized that the Act could be strengthened.
Out of these meetings, stakeholders advanced several key changes to the Damage Prevention Act. Through the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s sponsorship, these changes successfully advanced through the General Assembly. With the Governor’s signature, the changes went into effect July 1, 2023.
There are several important changes that are quite notable. First, the scope of a locate request has been reduced from one mile to 1/3 of a mile.
A second important change is that the Law now allows locate requests to be scheduled up to 12 business days in advance. Excavators will be able to identify a date three to 12 business days in advance, allowing them to better manage their locate requests. To facilitate this, software changes need to be completed in Virginia 811’s ticket entry platform. As such, it is anticipated that scheduling of locate requests will be available in January 2024.
Although not as significant, a third change to the Damage Prevention Act is the removal of special project tickets.
While these three changes focus on locate requests, there is another change to the Act of which those excavating in Virginia need to be aware. Fines related to violating the act can be more impactful, with fines for excavating without a locate request possibly being as high as $10,000 and other violations possibly as high as $5,000. This is an increase over the $2,500 fine limit previously in place.
Virginia 811 has been, and remains, committed to helping stakeholders understand these changes. Virginia 811 has used Constant Contact to communicate with stakeholders about these changes, as well as including banners and pop-up messaging on its website and Ticket Entry for Web Ticket Entry users. The SCC partnered with Virginia 811 to hold a series of virtual town hall meetings where stakeholders were able to learn more about these changes and ask questions. Be sure to visit Virginia 811’s Resource Page on its website to learn more about these changes, and do not hesitate to contact Virginia 811 if you have any questions about the Damage Prevention Act.
Click here to view a message from Virginia 811 President and CEO Scott Crawford.
–Report by B. Scott Crawford, President and CEO, Virginia 811.