New JULIE Law promotes safer digging environmentAmendatory language goes into effect July 1, 2002
STATE OF ILLINOISRepresentatives of the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators (JULIE, Inc.) announced today that significant new amendatory language to the Illinois Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Act would go into effect on July 1, 2002. These important changes affect anyone doing any type of digging in the state and raise the responsibilities of both the excavator and utility facility owners.
The new JULIE Law creates a true one-call process and promotes an easier, safer digging environment in the state of Illinois, said Mark Frost, executive director of JULIE, Inc. The reciprocal language recognized that the excavators and utilities are partners in the process of damage prevention.
Among the changes, the new JULIE Law:
l Creates an administrative penalty program through the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC);
l Raises penalties for each separate excavator and/or utility offense up to $5,000 (i.e. when no call is made by the excavator to JULIE at 1-800-892-0123); Adds language creating a penalty of up to $1,000 for individuals who are not involved in the process and who remove markings before the completion of the project;
l Recognizes the need for excavators to be reasonable in the size of their utility locate requests and utilities to be reasonable in their staffing levels during peak activity periods;
l Requires the excavator to contact both the affected company and JULIE in the event of damage to an underground facility; and
l Creates a true one call process by penalizing ($100 per day) all non-participating underground facility operators who do not join by January 1, 2003.
Excavators and utility company representatives may report violations to the ICC via http://eweb.icc.state.il.us/julie/. The ICC enforcement process phone number is 217/524-0669. More information about the new law, including the full text of the legislation and a direct link to the ICCs Web site, can be found at www.julie1call.com.
This new law stresses the importance of underground damage prevention and excavator safety, Frost continued. Over the past year, JULIE has been coordinating a proactive outreach program to inform and educate its members, contractors and excavators about the changes in the legislation.
State Senators Larry Walsh, William Mahar and Larry Woolard and Representative Brent Hassert worked together in a bipartisan effort as sponsors of House Bill 2138 last spring. The bill unanimously passed out the Senate and House and was signed by Gov. Ryan in July 2001.
JULIE, also known as the Illinois One-Call System, is a not-for-profit corporation that provides excavators with a toll-free telephone number (1-800-892-0123) to call for the free locating and marking of underground facilities. JULIE serves as a message handling service for utilities, taking information about planned excavations and distributing this information to its utility membership. It is then the responsibility of each member to mark the location of their underground facilities at the excavation site.
JULIE, Inc. promotes an easier, safer digging environment and serves the entire state of Illinois outside of the city of Chicago, which is covered by DIGGER. Illinois law requires all persons digging to call JULIE at least two working days prior to the start of excavation and to begin that project within 14 calendar days from the call. The 48-hour notice does not include Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
Established in 1974, JULIE currently represents more than 1,100 member companies. For more information about JULIE, please visit www.julie1call.com.