P.L. 1997, CHAPTER 7, approved January 24, 1997

Assembly, No. 2247

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Act concerning underground facilities and amending P.L.1994, c.118.

 

    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

    1. Section 5 of P.L.1994, c.118 (C.48:2-77) is amended to read as follows:

    5. a. [Two] Five years after the effective date of this act, the board shall designate, through an appropriate administrative mechanism, a person to operate the One-Call Damage Prevention System. The board may, as necessary, adopt rules establishing the process by which it shall select a person to operate the system.

    b. The board shall designate the Garden State Underground Plant Location Service (GSUPLS), a non-profit corporation of this State, to operate the One-Call Damage Prevention System, on an interim basis, for [two] five years after the effective date of this act. During this interim period, GSUPLS will operate the system in conformance with the provisions of this act and the board shall have policy oversight over operation of the system.

(cf: P.L.1994, c.118, s.5)

 

    2. Section 8 of P.L.1994, c.118 (C.48:2-80) is amended to read as follows:

    8. a. Except as provided in sections 6 and 9 of this act, the operator of an underground facility shall:

    (1) Participate in and comply with the requirements of the One-Call Damage Prevention System established pursuant to section 4 of this act; and

    (2) Mark, stake, locate or otherwise provide the position and number of its underground facilities which may be affected by a planned excavation or demolition within three business days after receipt of the information concerning a notice of intent to excavate transmitted pursuant to subsection [c.] a. of section 10 of this act. An underground facility shall be marked in accordance with standards approved by the board, which shall be based upon approved industry standards, and shall be marked at the site within 18 inches horizontally from the outside wall of the facility, in a manner that will enable the excavator to employ prudent techniques, which may include hand-dug test holes, to determine the precise position of the operator's underground facility. An underground facility shall be marked from information available in the operator's records or by use of standard locating techniques other than excavation. In temporarily marking the approximate position of an underground facility, an operator shall utilize the following color coding:

    Utility and Type Product Identifying color

    Electric Power Distribution Safety Red

    and Transmission

    Municipal Electric Systems Safety Red

    Gas Distribution and High Visibility Safety

    Transmission Yellow

    Oil Distribution and High Visibility Safety

    Transmission Yellow

    Dangerous Materials, Product High Visibility Safety

    Lines, Steam Lines Yellow

    Telephone and Telecommunications Safety Alert Orange

    Police and Fire Communications Safety Alert Orange

    Cable Television Safety Alert Orange

    Water Systems Safety Precaution Blue

    Slurry Systems Safety Precaution Blue

    Sewer Lines Safety Green

    b. If an operator does not own, operate or control any underground facilities at the site concerning which he received information of a notice of intent to excavate transmitted pursuant to subsection c. of section 4 of this act, the operator shall make a reasonable effort to so advise the person giving the notice of intent to excavate, providing the notice is given within the time frame set forth in subsection a. of section 10 of this act.

    c. An operator shall maintain a record of all damage to its underground facilities, including all damage reported by an excavator pursuant to subsection e. of section 10 of this act. An operator shall provide an updated copy of this record to the board on a quarterly basis.

(cf: P.L.1994, c.118, s.8)

 

    3. Section 15 of P.L.1994, c.118 (C.48:2-87) is amended to read as follows:

    15. Any person who knowingly [and willfully] engages in an excavation without:

    a. First using the One-Call Damage Prevention System to determine the location of underground facilities in the area being excavated; or

    b. Heeding appropriate location information or markings established by any operator; or

    c. Otherwise complying with the provisions of this act; [and who because of that violation damages] is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. If, because of the violation, damage occurs to an underground facility resulting in death, serious bodily harm, or actual damage to property or loss of service revenue exceeding $50,000, or [damages] damage occurs to an underground hazardous liquid pipeline facility resulting in the release of more than 50 barrels of product, the person shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

    Nothing in this section shall limit the jurisdiction of the board with respect to natural gas pipeline safety or limit the jurisdiction of the board or a court of competent jurisdiction with respect to the civil administrative penalty and enforcement provisions of this act.

(cf: P.L.1994, c.118, s.15)

 

    4. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

    This bill amends the "Underground Facility Protection Act," P.L.1994, c.118 (C.48:2-73 et seq.), to provide a five-year interim period in which the Garden State Underground Plant Location Service (GSPULS) will operate the one-call damage prevention system. Current law provides that GSPULS will operate the one-call system for a two-year period. At the end of the interim period, the Board of Public Utilities will designate the operator of the one-call system.

    The bill also amends section 15 of the act (C.48:2-87), which establishes a crime of the third degree, to include a disorderly persons offense. Proof of serious damage is an element of the third degree crime established in the act. Inclusion of language concerning a disorderly persons offense would permit a jury to return a guilty verdict on that lesser-included offense, if it is not persuaded as to the damage element. The bill further amends the definition of the crime of the third degree to remove language requiring a defendant to have acted "willfully." The term "willfully" is not defined in the Code of Criminal Justice and the term "knowingly," also used in this section, encompasses the state of mind intended by the use of the term "willfully." These amendments were recommended by the Department of Law and Public Safety.

    Finally, the bill makes a technical correction to section 8 of the act to correct a cross reference.

 

 

Amends "Underground Facility Protection Act" to provide a five-year interim period for system operator; establishes a disorderly persons offense.