Massachusetts state law requires anyone with plans to excavate to notify utility companies in a timely manner before breaking ground. Digging without knowing where underground facilities are located can be dangerous and costly.
In Massachusetts, notice of excavation for a utility mark-out requires a minimum notification of 72 business hours (3 business days), exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays or holidays, but no more than thirty (30) days prior to the commencement of an excavation. State law requires any entity performing excavations, whether an individual property owner or a contractor working on behalf a property owner, to notify utilities of the planned work. If a contractor is involved in the excavation, SWSC recommends the contractor make the call, as they are usually more familiar with the information required to obtain a proper mark-out.
State law also requires all excavators to pre-mark the area of excavation before requesting a mark-out. Pre-marking is defined as marking out the scope of the proposed excavation area using white stakes, paint, or flags that indicate exactly where the work will take place. This will aid SWSC in finding the area of upcoming excavation work, keep operating costs down, and prevent excessive marking in areas where it is not needed.
Depth of Utilities
The depth of underground facilities is variable. Additionally, the current depth of a facility might not be the same as when it was originally installed due to soil erosion, grading, or other factors. The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission requires that excavators use non-mechanical means when digging within 18″ of any marked underground facilities.
If any damage is made to Commission facilities while digging, it is the responsibility of the excavator to notify SWSC immediately after the damage occurs. State law prohibits the contractor from attempting to repair the damage or back-filling before the damaged facility has been inspected by the affected utility company.
SWSC owns and maintains underground water and sewer infrastructure in Springfield, Ludlow, Wilbraham, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, West Springfield, Agawam, Westfield, Russell, Chicopee, Southwick, Granville, and Blandford. Please see the below maps of SWSC’s infrastructure to determine whether your project will need a mark-out from SWSC. If you are unsure, play it safe and request a mark-out by calling 8-1-1.