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Changes to North Carolina’s Underground Utility Safety & Damage Protection Act

Authored by attorney Gretchen Ostroff

During its last legislative session, the North Carolina legislature passed House Bill 476, which changed the law regarding pre-excavation underground utility identification and safe digging practices in North Carolina.  Under prior law, many important issues related to underground utility identification were not addressed.  The changes, which are codified at North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 87, Article 8A, create mandatory underground utility procedures in North Carolina similar to what is required under Virginia’s Miss Utility laws and regulations. 

Perhaps the biggest change implemented by the new law was the creation of a “Notification Center” (NC811), which all North Carolina operators1 are required to join.  The Notification Center serves as a clearinghouse for information regarding the location of underground utilities, proposed excavations and demolitions, and reports of alleged violations. 

In addition to creating the Notification Center, the new law implemented the following changes and clarifications to existing law:

For more information, and to see a summary of all changes made under the new law, visit:  http://www.nc811.org/.  
To read the full text of the statute, visit: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_87/Article_8A.html.

1 “Operator” is defined as “any person, public utility, communications or cable services provider, municipality, electrical utility, or electric or telephone cooperative that owns or operates a facility in the state.” 

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