Pennsylvania’s Underground Utility Line Protection (UULP) Law adds new obligations

Aug 16, 2019Emphasis on Safety, News

New Law. New Rules.

Pennsylvania’s Underground Utility Line Protection (UULP) Law adds new obligations 

What’s new with PA Act 287, as amended? PA Act 287, the Underground Utility Line Protection Law, or better known as the “One Call Law” (73 P. S. § 176 et. seq.), has been amended seven times since 1974, most recently with PA Act 50 of 2017. This article describes the changes that Act 50 made to the One Call Law and what the changes mean to municipalities, townships, boroughs, authorities and cities that own or operate underground utilities. PA Act 50 of 2017 was signed by Governor Wolf on October 30, 2017 and went into effect on April 30, 2018.

History. PA Act 287 of 1974 went into effect in April 1975 and required excavators to call before digging. Coverage began in Allegheny County with six utilities, and expanded statewide by 1977. Calling before digging was an important first step in damage prevention, but did not work unless underground utilities participated. PA Act 172 of 1986 obligated owners or operators of underground utilities to become members of the One Call System.

Change in the Enforcement authority. The biggest change in the One Call Law was the change in enforcement authority. Enforcement of the One Call Law moved from the Department of Labor and Industry to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The Commission has enforcement authority for regulated public utilities in Pennsylvania, and the One Call Law involves safety related to underground utilities. The Commission was involved in writing the language referencing enforcement in PA Act 50.

Questions

Please direct any questions or requests for more information to
Nicole Luciano
by email or phone at (717) 901-0604.