Texas Laws - Utility Code
UTILITIES CODE
TITLE 4. DELIVERY OF UTILITY SERVICES

(a) In the absence of an agreement to convey a permanent easement for the continued right to use a preexisting facility located in a railroad right-of-way, a utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter may obtain the right to continuously use the right-of-way through the exercise of eminent domain under Chapter 21, Property Code. (11220)

(b) The award of damages due the railroad under an eminent domain proceeding as provided by Subsection (a) is: (11221)

(1) the market value of the real property interest to be used; and (11222)

(2) if a portion of the railroad's right-of-way is taken, damages, if any, to the railroad's remaining property. (11223)

(c) The railroad may also recover: (11224)

(1) reasonable costs and expenses for interference with railroad operations, including internal costs for providing flagging services; and (11225)

(2) reasonable costs and expenses to repair any damage to its facilities caused by the maintenance, operation, or upgrade of the preexisting utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter facilities. (11226)

(d) The payment by the utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter determined under this section is the only compensation due to the railroad for the perpetual use of the interest obtained. (11227)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1087, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (11228)

Sec. 186.057. RIGHT TO MAINTAIN FACILITIES. (11229)(1-click HTML)

(a) A utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter may not be required to remove an existing facility for 180 days after the date the utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter receives a written notice from the railroad that an existing facility must be removed from the railroad's right-of-way if: (11230)

(1) the facility was located along, under, over, or across the railroad right-of-way with the written consent of the railroad; and (11231)

(2) the utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter is not in default under an agreement with the railroad. (11232)

(b) If a utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter requests documentation under Section 186.055, the 180-day period provided by Subsection (a) is tolled until the utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter receives a written response to its request from the railroad. (11233)

(c) If a utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter does not condemn or enter into an agreement regarding the disputed area involving the railroad's right-of-way within the 180-day period provided by Subsection (a) or any extended period provided by Subsection (b), the license or agreement between the utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter and the railroad is terminated. (11234)

(d) The possessory right provided by this section is in addition to any possessory right provided by Chapter 21, Property Code. (11235)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1087, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (11236)

Sec. 186.058. LICENSE AND RENEWAL. (11237)(1-click HTML)

(a) A utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter may obtain an original license or renew a license for the right to use a railroad right-of-way for a one-time fee paid based on: (11238)

(1) the agreement of the railroad and the utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter; or (11239)

(2) a mutually acceptable third-party determination of market value. (11240)

(b) A fee paid under this section is the only fee payment required. The license remains in effect without the requirement of additional fee payments for renewal of the license. (11241)

(c) The terms of the license or license renewal may provide that the railroad is not later subject to this subchapter, except the railroad continues to be subject to eminent domain authority granted by other law. (11242)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1087, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (11243)

Sec. 186.059. RESTRICTIONS ON PAYMENT OF COSTS AWARDED AGAINST RAILROAD IN CONDEMNATION. (11244)(1-click HTML)

If the special commissioners or a court awards costs against a railroad under Section 21.047, Property Code, because the award of damages to the railroad is equal to or less than the amount the utility, common carrier, cable operator, or energy transporter exercising the right of eminent domain under this subchapter offered to pay, the costs awarded against the railroad must be paid by the railroad without reimbursement by or contribution from any agent or representative, including an agent or representative that handled or assisted in the condemnation proceedings. (11245)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1087, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (11246)

Sec. 186.060. CUMULATIVE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. (11247)(1-click HTML)

The rights, privileges, and responsibilities provided by this subchapter are in addition to and not in diminution of or substitution for those rights granted by any other state or federal law. (11248)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1087, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (11249)

Sec. 186.061. EFFECT ON OTHER LAW. (11250)(1-click HTML)

This subchapter does not affect the elements a condemnor must establish by law to acquire real property. (11251)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1087, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (11252)

TITLE 5. PROVISIONS AFFECTING THE OPERATION OF UTILITY FACILITIES (11253)(1-click HTML)

CHAPTER 251. UNDERGROUND FACILITY DAMAGE PREVENTION AND SAFETY (11254)(1-click HTML)

Sec. 251.001. SHORT TITLE. (11255)(1-click HTML)

This chapter may be cited as the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act. (11256)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11257)

Sec. 251.002. DEFINITIONS. (11258)(1-click HTML)

In this chapter: (11259)

(1) "Class A underground facility" means an underground facility that is used to produce, store, convey, transmit, or distribute: (11260)

(A) electrical energy; (11261)

(B) natural or synthetic gas; (11262)

(C) petroleum or petroleum products; (11263)

(D) steam; (11264)

(E) any form of telecommunications service, including voice, data, video, or optical transmission, or cable television service; or (11265)

(F) any other liquid, material, or product not defined as a Class B underground facility. (11266)

(2) "Class B underground facility" means an underground facility that is used to produce, store, convey, transmit, or distribute: (11267)

(A) water; (11268)

(B) slurry; or (11269)

(C) sewage. (11270)

(3) "Corporation" means the Texas Underground Facility Notification Corporation. (11271)

(4) "Damage" means: (11272)

(A) the defacing, scraping, displacement, penetration, destruction, or partial or complete severance of an underground facility or of any protective coating, housing, or other protective device of an underground facility; (11273)

(B) the weakening of structural or lateral support of an underground facility; or (11274)

(C) the failure to properly replace the backfill covering an underground facility. (11275)

(5) "Excavate" means to use explosives or a motor, engine, hydraulic or pneumatically powered tool, or other mechanized equipment of any kind and includes auguring, backfilling, boring, compressing, digging, ditching, drilling, dragging, dredging, grading, mechanical probing, plowing-in, pulling-in, ripping, scraping, trenching, and tunneling to remove or otherwise disturb soil to a depth of 16 or more inches. (11276)

(6) "Excavator" means a person that excavates or intends to excavate in this state. (11277)

(7) "Exploration and production underground facility" means an underground facility used by a person producing gas or oil, or both, for the production of that gas or oil, including facilities used for field separation, treatment, gathering, or storage of gas or oil. (11278)

(8) "High speed data transmission" means a method of data transmission that does not include facsimile or voice transmission. (11279)

(9) "Legal holiday" means a holiday specified as a legal holiday by Subchapter B, Chapter 662, Government Code. (11280)

(10) "Mechanized equipment" means equipment operated by mechanical power, including a trencher, bulldozer, power shovel, auger, backhoe, scraper, drill, cable or pipe plow, and other equipment used to plow in or pull in cable or pipe. (11281)

(11) "Operator" means a person that operates an underground facility. (11282)

(12) "Secured facility" means a parcel of land used for commercial or industrial purposes that is surrounded entirely by a fence or other means of preventing access, including a fence with one or more gates that are locked at all times or monitored by an individual who can prevent unauthorized access. (11283)

(13) "Underground facility" means a line, cable, pipeline system, conduit, or structure that is located partially or totally underground and that is used to produce, store, convey, transmit, or distribute telecommunications, electricity, gas, water, sewage, steam, or liquids such as petroleum, petroleum products, or hazardous liquids. (11284)

(14) "Saturday notification" means a notice of intent to excavate provided by an excavator to a notification center on a Saturday before 11:59 a.m. (11285)

(15) "Violation" means a violation of Section 251.151, 251.152, or 251.159. (11286)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11287)

Sec. 251.003. EXEMPTIONS. (11288)(1-click HTML)

The following are not subject to this chapter as underground facilities: (11289)

(1) an aboveground or underground storage tank, sump, or impoundment or piping connected to an aboveground or underground storage tank, sump, or impoundment located in the same tract of land as the storage tank, sump, or impoundment; (11290)

(2) an underground facility operated by the owner of a secured facility and located entirely within the secured facility; (11291)

(3) an underground facility that serves only the owner of the underground facility or the owner's tenant and that is located solely on the owner's property; (11292)

(4) piping within a well bore; (11293)

(5) the portion of an exploration and production underground facility that is located within the boundaries of the oil or gas field from which the oil and gas is produced and that is not located in the boundaries of an established easement or right-of-way granted for the benefit of a governmental entity or a private entity if the easement or right-of-way is granted for a public purpose; or (11294)

(6) an underground facility that serves a cemetery and is located solely on the cemetery's property. (11295)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11296)

Sec. 251.004. APPLICATION TO CERTAIN CONTRACTORS AND STATE EMPLOYEES. (11297)(1-click HTML)

(a) This chapter does not apply to a contractor working in the public right-of-way under a contract with the Texas Department of Transportation. (11298)

(b) Excavation by an employee of the Texas Department of Transportation on a segment of the state highway system is not subject to this chapter if the excavation is more than 10 feet from the right-of-way line. (11299)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 17.004(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (11300)

Sec. 251.005. CONVERSION OF FACILITY OR OPERATOR. (11301)(1-click HTML)

(a) An operator of an underground facility that is exempted under this subchapter may voluntarily convert that facility to a Class A underground facility by sending written communication from a competent authority of the operator to the corporation advising of the status change. (11302)

(b) An operator of a Class B underground facility may voluntarily convert to a Class A underground facility operator by sending written communication from a competent authority of the operator to the corporation advising of the status change. (11303)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11304)

Sec. 251.006. COMPLIANCE BY PERMIT HOLDERS. (11305)(1-click HTML)

(a) The fact that a person has a legal permit, permission from the owner of the property or the owner's licensee, or an easement to conduct excavation operations does not affect the person's duty to comply with this chapter. (11306)

(b) Compliance with this chapter does not affect a person's responsibility to obtain a permit required by law. (11307)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11308)

Sec. 251.007. FACILITY ON COUNTY OR MUNICIPAL ROAD. (11309)(1-click HTML)

This chapter does not affect a contractual or statutory right of a county or municipality to require an operator to relocate, replace, or repair its underground facility. (11310)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11311)

Sec. 251.008. EFFECT ON CIVIL REMEDIES. (11312)(1-click HTML)

Except as otherwise specifically provided by this chapter, this chapter, including Section 251.201, does not affect any civil remedy for personal injury or for property damage, including any damage to an underground facility. (11313)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11314)

Sec. 251.009. PROVISION OF GENERAL INFORMATION. (11315)(1-click HTML)

At least once each calendar year, at intervals not exceeding 15 months, each Class A underground facility operator who conveys, transmits, or distributes by means of its underground facilities service directly to more than one million residential customers within this state shall provide all of its residential customers in this state general information about excavation activities covered by this chapter and the statewide toll-free telephone number established by the corporation. (11316)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11317)

SUBCHAPTER B. TEXAS UNDERGROUND FACILITY NOTIFICATION CORPORATION (11318)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 251.051. PURPOSE. (11319)(1-click HTML)

The Texas Underground Facility Notification Corporation provides statewide notification services under this chapter. (11320)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11321)

Sec. 251.052. NONPROFIT CORPORATION. (11322)(1-click HTML)

The corporation is a public nonprofit corporation and has all the powers and duties incident to a nonprofit corporation under the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act (Article 1396-1.01 et seq., Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes), except that the corporation: (11323)

(1) may not make donations for the public welfare or for charitable, scientific, or educational purposes or in aid of war activities; (11324)

(2) may not merge or consolidate with another corporation; (11325)

(3) is not subject to voluntary or involuntary dissolution; and (11326)

(4) may not be placed in receivership. (11327)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11328)

Sec. 251.053. APPLICATION OF OPEN MEETINGS AND OPEN RECORDS LAWS. (11329)(1-click HTML)

The corporation is subject to Chapters 551 and 552, Government Code, except that the corporation may not disseminate, make available, or otherwise distribute service area map data or information provided by an operator unless that action is necessary to perform the corporation's specific obligations under this chapter. (11330)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11331)

Sec. 251.054. EXPENSES AND LIABILITIES OF CORPORATION. (11332)(1-click HTML)

(a) All expenses of the corporation shall be paid from income of the corporation. (11333)

(b) A liability created by the corporation is not a debt of this state, and the corporation may not secure a liability with funds or assets of this state. (11334)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11335)

Sec. 251.055. BOARD OF DIRECTORS. (11336)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board of directors of the corporation is composed of the following 12 members appointed by the governor: (11337)

(1) six representatives of the general public; (11338)

(2) one representative of the gas industry; (11339)

(3) one representative of the telecommunications industry; (11340)

(4) one representative of the electric industry; (11341)

(5) one representative of cable television companies; (11342)

(6) one representative of municipalities; and (11343)

(7) one representative of persons who engage in excavation operations who are not also facility operators. (11344)

(b) Board membership is voluntary and a director is not entitled to receive compensation for serving on the board. (11345)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11346)

Sec. 251.056. TERMS. (11347)(1-click HTML)

(a) Directors serve staggered three-year terms, with the terms of four directors expiring each August 31. (11348)

(b) A director serves until the director's successor is appointed by the governor and assumes office. (11349)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11350)

Sec. 251.057. DECLARATION OF BOARD VACANCY. (11351)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board may declare a director's office vacant if the director ceases to be associated with the industry or an operator the director represents. (11352)

(b) Not later than the 60th day after the date a vacancy on the board is declared, the governor shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. (11353)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11354)

Sec. 251.058. OFFICERS. (11355)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board shall elect from among its directors a chair and vice chair. (11356)

(b) The chair and vice chair serve for a term of one year and may be reelected. (11357)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11358)

Sec. 251.059. ENTITLEMENT TO VOTE. (11359)(1-click HTML)

The corporation's bylaws must provide that each director is entitled to one vote. (11360)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11361)

Sec. 251.060. DUTIES OF CORPORATION. (11362)(1-click HTML)

The corporation shall develop and implement processes to: (11363)

(1) maintain a registration of: (11364)

(A) notification centers as provided by Section 251.101(a)(3); (11365)

(B) operators who elect to convert facilities to Class A facilities under Section 251.005(a); or (11366)

(C) operators who elect to become Class A underground facility operators under Section 251.005(b); (11367)

(2) establish minimum technical standards used by notification centers; (11368)

(3) establish a statewide toll-free telephone number to be used by excavators that incorporates the use of a call router system that routes calls to the notification centers on a pro rata basis; (11369)

(4) oversee the bid process and select the vendor for the statewide toll-free telephone number; (11370)

(5) oversee the bid process and select the vendor for the call router system; (11371)

(6) determine before May 1 of each year the cost-sharing between the notification centers of: (11372)

(A) the toll-free telephone number; and (11373)

(B) the call router system prescribed by Section 251.102(4); (11374)

(7) develop public service announcements to educate the public about statewide one-call notification and its availability; (11375)

(8) establish a format for information transfer among notification centers other than high speed data transmission, if appropriate; (11376)

(9) on a complaint concerning charges, investigate and determine appropriate charges; (11377)

(10) recommend a civil penalty against a notification center that does not meet the requirements of this chapter of not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000 for each violation; (11378)

(11) refer the recommended penalty to the attorney general, who shall institute a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover the penalty; (11379)

(12) assist in dispute resolution among notification centers or between a notification center and an operator; (11380)

(13) assist any operator who encounters difficulty in joining a notification center; and (11381)

(14) review and study design standards for the placement of underground facilities throughout this state. (11382)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11383)

Sec. 251.061. CONTRACT FOR STATEWIDE TOLL-FREE NUMBER AND CALL ROUTER SYSTEM. (11384)(1-click HTML)

(a) The corporation shall solicit proposals for the contract to establish and operate the statewide toll-free telephone number and the call router system by using a request for proposals process that includes specifications that have been approved by the board of directors in accordance with this chapter. (11385)

(b) The corporation is not required to award the contract to the lowest offeror if the terms of another proposal would result in a lower annual cost and are more advantageous to the corporation and its members. The corporation may reject all proposals if the corporation finds that none of the proposals is acceptable. (11386)

(c) After the proposals are opened, each document relating to the consideration of a proposal or the award of a contract and the text of the contract are considered books and records of the corporation for the purposes of Article 2.23, Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act (Article 1396-2.23, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes). (11387)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11388)

Sec. 251.062. FEES AND RATES. (11389)(1-click HTML)

(a) Except as provided by this section, the corporation may not, for any reason, impose an assessment, fee, or other charge, including a charge for inputting data, against an operator. (11390)

(b) Before January 15 of each year, a Class A facility operator shall pay to the corporation a fee of $50 for services to be performed by the corporation during that calendar year. A fee for a part of a year may not be prorated. (11391)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11392)

SUBCHAPTER C. NOTIFICATION CENTERS (11393)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 251.101. NOTIFICATION CENTER. (11394)(1-click HTML)

(a) A notification center is a legal entity that: (11395)

(1) operates a notification system capable of serving excavators and operators statewide; (11396)

(2) is created to: (11397)

(A) receive notification of an intent to excavate and of damage to an underground facility and disseminate that information to member operators that may be affected by the excavation or damage and to other notification centers operating in this state; and (11398)

(B) receive notification of an extraordinary circumstance and disseminate that information to member operators and to other notification centers operating in this state; and (11399)

(3) registers the following information with the corporation: (11400)

(A) its name, address, and telephone number; (11401)

(B) the name of a contact person; (11402)

(C) a statement of compliance with Section 251.104; and (11403)

(D) a listing of the counties in which it operates. (11404)

(b) A notification center operating on September 1, 1997, may continue to operate if the notification center complies with this chapter. (11405)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11406)

Sec. 251.102. GENERAL DUTIES OF NOTIFICATION CENTER. (11407)(1-click HTML)

A notification center shall: (11408)

(1) operate 24 hours a day every day of the year; (11409)

(2) have the capability to receive emergency information 24 hours a day from excavators and disseminate the information as soon as it is received to the appropriate operators and to all registered and affected notification centers operating in this state; (11410)

(3) have the capacity to receive extraordinary circumstance information 24 hours a day from operators and disseminate the information as soon as it is received to all registered and affected notification centers; (11411)

(4) submit to the corporation, not later than May 15 of each year, a pro rata share of the expense, as established by the corporation, of the statewide toll-free telephone number and the call router; (11412)

(5) provide, on request of an excavator, a contact name and telephone number of a representative of the operator for special circumstances; and (11413)

(6) have personnel capable of assisting Spanish-speaking customers. (11414)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11415)

Sec. 251.103. RECORDS. (11416)(1-click HTML)

(a) A notification center shall maintain for not less than four years a record to document: (11417)

(1) the receipt of a notice of: (11418)

(A) intent to excavate; (11419)

(B) damage to an underground facility; (11420)

(C) an emergency excavation; and (11421)

(D) an extraordinary circumstance; (11422)

(2) the information the excavator is required to provide to the notification center under this chapter; (11423)

(3) contact with operators and other notification centers; and (11424)

(4) the information the notification center provided to the excavator. (11425)

(b) A notification center may not destroy records that relate to any matter that is involved in litigation if the notification center is placed on notice that the litigation has not been finally resolved. (11426)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11427)

Sec. 251.104. INSURANCE. (11428)(1-click HTML)

A notification center shall, at all times, maintain a minimum of $5 million professional liability and errors and omissions insurance to cover duties prescribed by this chapter. (11429)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11430)

Sec. 251.105. FEES AND CHARGES. (11431)(1-click HTML)

(a) A notification center that notifies another notification center under Section 251.102(2) or (3) or Section 251.153(b) shall recover an amount not exceeding the actual cost of providing the notice from the notification center receiving the notice. (11432)

(b) The notification center shall charge a Class A underground facility operator not more than $1.25 for a call made to the system that affects the operator. The board may increase or decrease the maximum charge only on an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the total number of votes entitled to be cast. A notification center may petition the corporation for an increase in the maximum charge and is entitled to the increase on proof that costs exceed the maximum charge. (11433)

(c) The notification center may not charge an operator any additional fee such as an initiation fee, a membership fee, or a set-up fee. (11434)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11435)

Sec. 251.106. PAYMENTS TO CORPORATION. (11436)(1-click HTML)

Each time a notification center receives a call from an excavator under Section 251.151, the notification center shall pay the corporation five cents. The corporation shall waive this charge for the remainder of any year in which the corporation receives $250,000 under this section. (11437)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 652, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (11438)

Sec. 251.107. DUTY TO PARTICIPATE IN NOTIFICATION CENTER. (11439)(1-click HTML)

(a) Each operator of a Class A underground facility, including a political subdivision of this state, shall participate in a notification center as a condition of doing business in this state. (11440)

(b) Each operator of a Class A underground facility shall provide to the notification center: (11441)

(1) maps or grid locations or other identifiers determined by the operator indicating the location of the operator's underground facilities; (11442)

(2) the name and telephone number of a contact person or persons; and (11443)

(3) at least quarterly but, if possible, as those changes occur, information relating to each change in the operator's maps or grid locations or other identifiers or in the person or persons designated as the operator's contact person or persons. (11444)

(c) The notification center may not require an operator to conduct a survey of the operator's underground facilities or alter the operator's existing signage. (11445)

(d) A notification center may not disseminate, make available, or otherwise distribute maps or information provided by an operator unless that action is necessary to perform the notification center's specific obligations under this chapter. (11446)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11447)

SUBCHAPTER D. REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO EXCAVATION (11448)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 251.151. DUTY OF AN EXCAVATOR. (11449)(1-click HTML)

(a) Except as provided by Sections 251.155 and 251.156, a person who intends to excavate shall notify a notification center not earlier than the 14th day before the date the excavation is to begin or later than the 48th hour before the time the excavation is to begin, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. (11450)

(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), if an excavator makes a Saturday notification, the excavator may begin the excavation the following Tuesday at 11:59 a.m. unless the intervening Monday is a holiday. If the intervening Monday is a holiday, the excavator may begin the excavation the following Wednesday at 11:59 a.m. (11451)

(c) To have a representative present during the excavation, the operator shall contact the excavator and advise the excavator of the operator's intent to be present during excavation and confirm the start time of the excavation. If the excavator wants to change the start time, the excavator shall notify the operator to set a mutually agreed-to time to begin the excavation. (11452)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11453)

Sec. 251.152. INFORMATION INCLUDED IN NOTICE. (11454)(1-click HTML)

The excavator shall include in the notice required under Section 251.151: (11455)

(1) the name of the person serving the notice; (11456)

(2) the location of the proposed area of excavation, including: (11457)

(A) the street address, if available, and the location of the excavation at the street address; or (11458)

(B) if there is no street address, an accurate description of the excavation area using any available designations such as the closest street, road, or intersection; (11459)

(3) the name, address, and telephone number of the excavator or the excavator's company; (11460)

(4) the excavator's field telephone number, if one is available; (11461)

(5) a telephone facsimile number, e-mail address, or another electronic number or address approved by the board to which an operator may send the notification required by Section 251.157(d); (11462)

(6) the starting date and time and the anticipated completion date of excavation; and (11463)

(7) a statement as to whether explosives will be used. (11464)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 858, Sec. 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2001. (11465)

Sec. 251.153. DUTY OF NOTIFICATION CENTER. (11466)(1-click HTML)

(a) At the time an excavator provides a notification center with the excavator's intent to excavate, the notification center shall advise the excavator that water, slurry, and sewage underground facilities in the area of the proposed excavation may not receive information concerning the excavator's proposed excavation. (11467)

(b) Not later than two hours after the time the notification center receives a notice of intent to excavate from an excavator, the notification center shall provide to every other affected notification center operating in this state the information required by Section 251.152 and received from the excavator. The notification center shall provide the information by the use of high speed data transmission. (11468)

(c) Not later than two hours after the time the notification center receives a notice of intent to excavate from an excavator or from a different notification center, the notification center shall notify each member operator that may have an underground facility in the vicinity of the proposed excavation operation. (11469)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11470)

Sec. 251.154. NOTIFICATION BY AN EXCAVATOR. (11471)(1-click HTML)

(a) A person required to provide notice under this chapter is considered to have provided the notice when the person delivers the required information and a notification center receives that information within the time limits prescribed by this chapter. (11472)

(b) A person may deliver information required under this chapter by any appropriate method, including the use of any electronic means of data transfer. (11473)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11474)

Sec. 251.155. EXCEPTION IN CASE OF EMERGENCY; OFFENSE. (11475)(1-click HTML)

(a) Section 251.151 does not apply to an emergency excavation that is necessary to respond to a situation that endangers life, health, or property or a situation in which the public need for uninterrupted service and immediate reestablishment of service if service is interrupted compels immediate action. (11476)

(b) The excavator may begin emergency excavation under Subsection (a) immediately and shall take reasonable care to protect underground facilities. (11477)

(c) When an emergency exists, the excavator shall notify a notification center as promptly as practicably possible. (11478)

(d) An excavator may not misrepresent a fact or circumstance used in the determination of an emergency excavation under Subsection (a). A person that violates this subsection is subject to a penalty under: (11479)

(1) Section 251.201; (11480)

(2) Section 251.203; or (11481)

(3) both Section 251.201 and Section 251.203. (11482)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11483)

Amended by: (11484)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 184 (S.B. 1217), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011. (11485)

Sec. 251.156. OTHER EXCEPTIONS TO DUTY OF EXCAVATORS. (11486)(1-click HTML)

(a) Section 251.151 does not apply to: (11487)

(1) interment operations of a cemetery; (11488)

(2) operations at a secured facility if: (11489)

(A) the excavator operates each underground facility at the secured facility, other than those within a third-party underground facility easement or right-of-way; and (11490)

(B) the excavation activity is not within a third-party underground facility or right-of-way; (11491)

(3) routine railroad maintenance within 15 feet of either side of the midline of the track if the maintenance will not disturb the ground at a depth of more than 18 inches; (11492)

(4) activities performed on private property in connection with agricultural operations; (11493)

(5) operations associated with the exploration or production of oil or gas if the operations are not conducted within an underground facility easement or right-of-way; (11494)

(6) excavations by or for a person that: (11495)

(A) owns, leases, or owns a mineral leasehold interest in the real property on which the excavation occurs; and (11496)

(B) operates all underground facilities located at the excavation site; or (11497)

(7) routine maintenance by a county employee on a county road right-of-way to a depth of not more than 24 inches. (11498)

(b) If a person excepted under Subsection (a)(4) elects to comply with this chapter and the operator fails to comply with this chapter, the person is not liable to the underground facility owner for damages to the underground facility. (11499)

(c) In this section: (11500)

(1) "Agricultural operations" means activities performed on land and described by Section 23.51(2), Tax Code. (11501)

(2) "Routine maintenance" means operations, not to exceed 24 inches in depth, within a road or drainage ditch involving grading and removal or replacement of pavement and structures. (11502)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (11503)

Sec. 251.157. DUTY OF OPERATOR TO PERSON EXCAVATING. (11504)(1-click HTML)

(a) Each Class A underground facility operator contacted by the notification system shall mark the approximate location of its underground facilities at or near the site of the proposed excavation if the operator believes that marking the location is necessary. The operator shall mark the location not later than: (11505)

(1) the 48th hour after the time the excavator gives to the notification system notice of intent to excavate, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays; (11506)

(2) 11:59 a.m. on the Tuesday following a Saturday notification unless the intervening Monday is a holiday; (11507)

(3) 11:59 a.m. on the Wednesday following a Saturday notification if the intervening Monday is a holiday; or (11508)

(4) a time agreed to by the operator and the excavator. (11509)

(b) An operator shall refer to the American Public Works Association color coding standards when marking. (11510)

(c) An excavator who has fully complied with this chapter may not be liable for damage to an underground facility that was not marked in accordance with this chapter. (11511)

(d) Not later than the 48th hour after the time the excavator gives to the notification center notice of intent to excavate, an operator contacted by the notification center shall notify the excavator of the operator's plans to not mark the proximate location of an underground facility at or near the site of the proposed excavation. The operator must provide the notification by e-mail or facsimile or by another verifiable electronic method approved by the board. (11512)

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 858, Sec. 2, eff. Nov. 1, 2001. (11513)

Sec. 251.158. DUTY OF OPERATOR IN EVENT OF AN EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE. (11514)(1-click HTML)

(a) The deadline prescribed by Section 251.157(a) does not apply if the operator experiences an extraordinary circumstance due to an act of God, including a tornado, a hurricane, an ice storm, or a severe flood, or a war, riot, work stoppage, or strike that limits personnel or resources needed to fulfill the operator's obligations under this chapter. (11515)

  

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