White Lining FAQs

I hear a lot about Georgia Law, Commission Rules and Georgia 811 Policy. What is the difference between these three terms?
A law is a statute voted on and passed by the state legislature. A rule is written by a state commission which explains a law and generally provides direction to the public about how to administer or adhere to the law. Policy is written by an entity which is administering the rule and law.

How does this concept apply to white lining?
Georgia law (§25-9-6a1) states that a locate request shall: “…describe the tract or parcel of land upon which the blasting or excavation is to take place with sufficient particularity, as defined by policies developed and promulgated by the Utilities Protection Center (d.b.a Georgia 811), to enable the facility owner or operator to ascertain the precise tract or parcel of land involved…” That tells us what needs to happen. Section 1d of GPSC Rule 515-9-4-.14 explains how to administer the law. It says in part, “…Utilities Protection Center, Inc. (“UPC” or “One-Call Center”) is hereby directed to establish policies and procedures which identify when white lining is required…” Finally, in order to comply and to assist the excavating public with adhering to the law, the Utilities Protection Center has adopted the Board Policy on Sufficient Particularity.

Are the work types mentioned in the Georgia 811 Policy the only ones that are applicable to this? Can I add another work type?
The work types listed are for illustration purposes only and do not infer a complete list. We will not be publishing a list since each locate request and each set of locating instructions are taken on their own merit in order to determine sufficient particularity.

What do I do if my work covers two of the quadrants on a piece of property? Do I have to white line then?
Not necessarily. As long as the work will take place on the quadrants named, sufficient particularity will apply.

Will I be fined if I don’t white line when I should?
If you are found in violation of a Public Service Commission Rule, you may be fined up to $15,000.

I have been told by the Georgia 811 customer service representative (CSR) that I should white line but I do not think it is necessary. Will the CSR still accept the locate request and send it to the utility members for locating?
Yes. Georgia 811 will not refuse to take any locate requests as long as the information provided is clear. The CSR will note your responses on the locate request but will send it to the utility members as prescribed by law.

I enter requests on the Web. Does the white lining rule and question apply to me also? What am I supposed to do on the requests I enter?
This rule applies whether you are calling locate requests into the call center or doing them yourself online. We are asking that you be as specific as you can on your locate instructions and avoid using Locate Entire Property on all locate requests. While we understand this saves time when you are doing your Web requests, it actually can slow down the entire facility locate process in the long run.

Is “Locate Entire Property” no longer acceptable at all on a locate request?
The term “locate entire property” is still acceptible if, indeed, the excavation or blasting will take place throughout areas of the entire property. This rule is not intended to eliminate entire property locates. It is intended to more clearly define where the excavation or blasting is to be done so that member utilities do not waste valuable time and money locating facilities where no work will take place. The intent is to make the entire process more efficient and effective.

How will I know if I am doing a good job of describing with sufficient particularity on my Web locate requests? What happens if I think it is sufficient particularity according to Georgia 811 Policy but it actually is not? Will I be fined?
We monitor your Web requests through our normal quality assurance program. As we find locate requests that do not specify the dig site with sufficient particularity and white lining is not checked on the locate request, you will receive a call from one of our quality assurance specialists and he or she will assist you and answer your questions. After an educational and training period, the length of which is yet to be determined, we will count this item in our quality control program. As with other aspects of our quality assurance program, if the same errors are repeated over time, you may lose your Web entry privileges. You will not be fined, however, by the Georgia 811. Please refer to the next question.

Will Georgia 811 turn me in to the PSC if I don’t describe my dig site with sufficient particularity?
No. Georgia 811 will not be identifying probable violations. A probable violation of this rule can only be determined in the field when the locator is locating the utilities. A locator or a member may file probable violations if the area should have been white lined but was not. Georgia 811 has no way of knowing what was ultimately done prior to the locate technician’s arrival on site.

What should I use to white line?
Water based white paint or white flags. Be sure your excavation company name appears with the paint or on the flags.