The increasing volume of damages resulting from a failure to obtain locates has forced Springs Utilities to enforce civil penalties as spelled out in the Excavation Statute, C.R.S. 9-1.5-101 et seq as a means to protect our citizen-owners.
The Excavation Statute was enacted to create a one-call network in Colorado - COLORADO 811. The free location service is designed to help excavators prevent injuries and damage to underground facilities. The one-call notification system is user friendly and simply requires three business days notice prior to the start of any excavation. COLORADO 811 then notifies the facility owner of the request and the owner marks their facilities.
Under certain delineated circumstances the facility owner can pursue an award of civil penalties against an excavator who fails to operate in accordance with the statute. These situations include:
- Failing to call COLORADO 811 and request a locate ticket
- Excavating outside the original reported dig area
- Excavating prior to the ticket locate date
- Excavating on another excavator's requested locates
- Excavating more than 30 days after the locate date
The civil penalties can be significant, including court costs and reasonable attorney fees.
On June 1, 2003, Springs Utilities began to pursue an award of civil penalties when a failure to follow the statutory requirements results in damages to our facilities. Our motivation is the minimization of damages to facilities and injury to persons. Although Springs Utilities recognizes that the possibility of a civil penalty assessment can motivate compliance, we also believe that a better understanding of the purpose and requirements of the Excavation Statute can also help to minimize damages and injury. For first violations, Springs Utilities will generally offer excavators an opportunity to pay $1,000 in lieu of a civil penalty, provided the excavator also completes the “Call Before You Dig” training program provided by Springs Utilities. Otherwise first-time violators are subject to a $5,000.00 civil penalty, plus court costs and attorney fees.
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Colorado Springs Utilities
7710 Durant Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920