AN ACT AMENDING THE UNDERGROUND DAMAGE PREVENTION ACT.
Amends GS 87-117, setting out definitions for the Underground Utility Safety and Damage Prevention Act (Article 8A of GS Chapter 87). Adds the new term Board, meaning the Underground Damage Prevention Review Board.
Amends GS 87-120, providing the responsibilities of the Notification Center, to remove the provision requiring the Notification Center to receive, maintain, and provide general administration of reports of alleged violations of Article 8A and responses. Makes conforming changes to eliminate all provisions relating to the Notification Center receiving, maintaining, and providing administration of reports of alleged violations and responses.
Amends GS 87-122 (Excavator responsibilities) to modify the required notice to require that it contain, among other components, the location of the proposed excavation or demolition, not to exceed one-quarter mile in geographical length, or five adjoining addresses, whichever is less (was, the location of the proposed excavation or demolition, not to exceed one-quarter mile in geographical length, or five addresses, not to exceed one quarter mile in geographical length; did not specify whichever is less).
Amends GS 87-125 (Notice in case of emergency excavation or demolition), requiring the excavator to give notice (previously, specifies oral notice) to the Notification Center as soon as practicable and include a description of the circumstances justifying the emergency.
Amends GS 87-129 (Underground Damage Prevention Review Board; enforcement; civil penalties). Adds new subsection (a7), providing that the Board is to receive reports of alleged violations of Article 8A, and must maintain a record of those reports for at least four years, including responses to the reports. Adds that the Board is to contact persons against whom reports have been filed to inform them of the alleged violation within 10 days of the filing of the report. Details the information the Board is to minimally maintain regarding reports of alleged violations. Makes conforming change to delete subsection (b).
Amends subsection (c) to provide that a person determined by the Board to have violated Article 8A can appeal the determination by initiating an arbitration proceeding before the Utilities Commission within 30 days of the issuance of the Utilities Commission's order imposing a penalty pursuant to subsection (b) (was, within 30 days of the Board's determination).
Adds new subsection (c2) to establish that an action for the recovery of any penalty under the statute must be instituted in Wake County, and must be instituted in the name of the State on the relation of the Utilities Commission against the person incurring the penalty. Allows the action to be instituted and prosecuted by the Attorney General, the district attorney of the Wake County Superior Court, or the injured person. Directs that the procedure in actions under subsection (c2), the right of appeal, and the rules regulating appeals are the same as provided by law in other civil actions.
Adds new subsection (e) to require the Board to establish and implement a public awareness program to inform the public of the purpose and function of the Board.
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