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Economic growth, online resource fuel N.D. One Call use

From staff reports

North Dakota One Call, the system

North Dakota One Call Photo
Use of North Dakota One Call results in these types of markings on land atop buried utility lines. COURTESY PHOTO

for protecting buried utility facilities, has received extensive use in recent booming economic times in the state. Creating online notification resources has helped facilitate this use, and this channel is gaining widespread acceptance.

“Our main message  continues to be ‘Call Before You Dig’ and our main goal with that message is to keep people safe,” says Ryan Schmaltz, director of public relations for North Dakota One Call.

“Whether it’s the excavator working on a big job, or the homeowner putting in the fence project on the weekend, the aim is that everyone dig safely by knowing where underground facilities are located.”

The North Dakota Century Code requires anyone who engages in any type of excavation, with certain exemptions, anywhere in North Dakota to provide notice of at least 48 hours in advance (excluding weekends and holidays) to North Dakota One Call.

North Dakota One Call (NDOC) is the statewide direct notification system established to inform all North Dakota underground facility owner-operators of intended excavation. Anyone planning to excavate is required to notify North Dakota One Call, either by calling 811, or 800-795-0555, or going online at www.NDONECALL.com. The steps in the One Call process include:

• Excavator filing locate request.

• North Dakota One Call processes and submits a request to member utility/owner of underground facilities in request area.

• Utilities, within 48 hours, mark the request area, indicating underground facilities present, or advise that request area is clear of underground facilities.

• Excavator proceeds to dig, with care, so as to avoid damages.

Schmaltz says this is a process that works smoothly. “After an excavator makes a request for the location of underground facilities, we turn around and notify the utility. And they have 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, to come out and mark their underground utilities,” Schmaltz says. He adds the marking methods involve spray painting the underground facilities course, and marking the course with brightly colored tin-stake metal pin flags.

Schmaltz says that making locate request online is popular. The categories of online locate requests include:

• ITIC (Internet Ticket) – an Internet-based ticket entry program for professional excavators that allows locates to be filed over the Internet by supplying the required data.

• ITIC Lite – the Internet-based ticket entry program for homeowners who would like to submit their locate requests on the Internet. It’s not intended for the professional excavator, but rather only intended for people doing their own excavation at a posted street address. ITIC Mobile has the same features as the desktop version of ITIC, now optimized for all mobile devices.

Schmaltz says IMAP is another online feature in the One Call program. It is used by utilities, which log on and provide updates on their underground facilities, a requirement under the law.

Schmaltz points out that state law requires all commercial and private citizen excavation be reported to North Dakota One Call. There is an 18-inch excavation exception for farmers, and a 12-inch exception for private citizens when gardening or landscaping, but Schmaltz encourages anyone planning excavating to use the One Call system.

North Dakota One Call is governed by a board of directors, comprised of representatives of the major utility sectors in the state. Rural telecommunications cooperatives and companies are represented by Brooks Goodall, chief operations officer, Reservation Telephone Cooperative, Parshall.