From the Desk of Scott Sasajima 
 
On behalf of all of us at Texas811, Happy New Year! 2019 is off to a strong start as the mostly mild weather has already resulted in an average of 68,000 one-call tickets a week. 2018 had a strong finish, with over 3.4 million locate requests 
processed for excavators in the state of Texas. For us, that's 3.4 million times we were able to fulfill our mission to prevent damages and protect excavators, the citizens of Texas and the environment. We are thankful to provide a service that sends excavators home safe to their families every single day. Although Texas811 observes state holidays towards the 48 hours' notice, we still operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
 
 
Cyber Monday is thought to be the busiest online shopping day of the year. It just so happens that Cyber Monday was our busiest day on record, with 17,255 tickets processed in a single day! That's approximately one locate request processed every 5 seconds. No matter what day it is or what the weather is like, we are always ready to serve your 811 needs.

 
Sincerely,

Scott Sasajima
Director of Operations
Texas811

This is the third issue of the Texas811 Excavator Newsletter. We'll include content relevant to excavators in Texas; news you can use. Expect to see an issue in your inbox once a quarter. Feel free to pass this to others within your organization. If they are interested in getting a copy every quarter, ask them to click below to be added to the distribution list.
How to Contact Texas811

There are two ways to contact Texas811 to request a notification to have your lines marked. Both are free of charge to you.

                Online - You can use our Online Ticket Entry System HERE.  
 
By Phone at 811 - Listen carefully to the recorded message, many of your requests can be handled though the automated system before you reach a Damage Prevention Agent.


A Request to Excavators from Texas811 Members

Keeping up with locates on a miles-long, multi-month project can stretch the resources of utility companies and their locators. They request that you break large projects into smaller pieces, for instance the distance or area that you'll be working on for several weeks to a month. Create a new ticket, rather than Updating the original ticket, when you move on to a new section of your project. And once a section of your project is complete, stop requesting Updates for that piece of the work.
 
You may have to keep up with a few more ticket numbers, but it will help ensure you continue to receive accurate and on-time locates for your work.

If You Have Coworkers Who are More Comfortable with Spanish than English...

We can help them. For information about Texas811 and the 811 system, tell them to go to   https://www.texas811.orf/en-espanol.

To speak with a bilingual agent, they can dial 811 and select option 1.

Importance of Tolerance Zones 
A locator's marks provide the excavator with information about the location of underground lines. Due to natural shifting of the ground and other causes, the markings only show a general location. So a Tolerance Zone must also be observed while excavating. The Tolerance Zone acts as added protection to buried utilities.
 
A Tolerance Zone refers to the amount of space parallel and directly next to the underground utility. In the state of Texas, the Tolerance Zone is half the nominal diameter of the underground pipeline plus a minimum of 18 inches on either side of the outside edge of the underground pipeline on a horizontal plane.  
 
If you must dig in the Tolerance Zone, for example to expose a line, use careful methods:
  • Hand digging
  • Pot holing
  • Soft digging
  • Vacuum excavation
Remember that paint and flags are a guide, because the actual location of the line may differ underground. If digging must take place within the Tolerance Zone, the location of the buried utility should be proven by sight before using ANY power or mechanical equipment.
 
Is Everyone on Your Excavating Crew Familiar with Texas811?

Contacting Texas811 reduces your chance of striking a buried utility to less than one percent.  Make sure everyone on your crew knows these three simple steps:
 
Contact: Make the free call to 811 or use www.texas811.org/portal to get the underground utilities at your worksite marked.
 
Wait: Underground utility locators will come to your worksite and physically mark the location of the utility lines with paint or flags.  This will be completed in two working days; excluding weekends and state holidays.  Need a refresher on the flag colors?  Click here .
 
Dig:   Respect the marks, hand dig carefully for 18" on either side of the marks to expose the lines before digging with more aggressive methods.
 
You may have members on your crew who are more comfortable using Spanish.  At Texas811, that's not a problem.  We have more than 40 bilingual agents available to take their calls requesting line locates.  Many of our materials are available in Spanish, including Facebook. Spanish speakers can find out more here. 
 
ONLINE Damage Prevention Training Available from Texas811

The Texas811 Damage Prevention Training is now available online in English and Spanish at https://dpatraining.lpages.co/texas811-language/ . The fee is $19.95 for Texas811 members and $29.95 for non-members. Gold Shovel Standard Certification is available with this training.

First Half 2019 Holiday Schedule
 
The following State and National Holidays are observed, which means they are not included in the 48-hour period between requesting a notification and when it must be marked. Please keep this in mind, and request your locates early enough to account for the Holidays.
  • February 18, Presidents' Day
  • March 2, Texas Independence Day*
  • April 21, San Jacinto Day*
  • Monday, May 27, Memorial Day
  • Tuesday, June 19, Emancipation Day

*Holidays that fall on a weekend are not observed.