I am a member operator and have received a locate request. The underground facilities in the area of proposed excavation are older, non-metal lines, which cannot be located by audible locating equipment. Hence, excavation to locate underground facilities is necessary. Do I have to call for a locate request so that I can dig/locate pursuant to the locate request I received?

Exemptions exist for the purposes of “locating, repairing, connecting, or protecting, or routine maintenance of, the member operator’s underground facilities…” as long as the excavation is with hand tools by the member operator, or an agent of the member operator, owning the facilities. However, this exemption “is limited to excavations to a depth of 30 inches if the right-of-way has permanently marked facilities of a company other than the member operator or its agents performing the excavation” [s. 556.108 (5)]. As long as the limit of 30 inches in a marked right-of-way is not in danger, a ticket is not necessary in order for a member operator, or an agent thereof, to perform facilities location. “An excavator who performs any excavation with hand tools pursuant to s. 556.108(5) is liable for any damage to any operator’s underground facilities damaged during such excavation” [s. 556.106(5)].