Bill Strengthens Underground Facility Protections, Emergency Response Procedures

On February 25, 2020, MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified before the Senate Finance Committee to support SB 877 – Underground Facilities Damage Prevention – Revision. The result of a two-year workgroup effort spearheaded by the Maryland Underground Damage Prevention Authority (the Authority), this bill makes numerous changes to the Authority and the procedures governing the protection of underground facilities. MACo participated as a member of the stakeholder workgroup.

From the MACo Testimony:

Most notably from a local government perspective, the bill retains underground storm drain exemption with the compromise that newly installed, renovated, or restored underground facilities are required to be detectable or locatable beginning October 1, 2021.

Additionally, the bill strengthens the provisions for responding to an emergency excavation or demolition in a time sensitive manner. The bill requires the appropriate parties to respond and be on site no later than three hours from the transmission of an emergency ticket. In the event of an emergency, it is crucial that underground facilities are appropriately accounted for and marked to prevent or mitigate the loss of or injury to life, health, property, or essential public services.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.