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How Long are My Locates Valid?

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How Long are My Locates Valid?

Okay, the utility owners have marked your site where you intend to dig if they have buried lines below using flags and paint. They have left you with a document as well called a ‘Locate Slip’. You are clear on how to dig safely and understand the responsibilities as a ground disturber. But, what if other things come up and you’re not actually ready to dig. How long do you have before needing to refresh the request? What is the process? 

The locate report that you received includes an expiration date. It also includes utility specific information and guidelines because the members may each have different conditions and timeframes. Locates may be valid from 15 to 30 calendar days from the date they were provided, subject to specific conditions being met, which will also be indicated on the Locate Slip. If ground disturbance will continue past the lifespan the facility owner has provided, a relocate is required.

Utility Safety Partners will re-notify individual member operators of buried facilities. They will reach out to you to determine whether a new locate is required or the lifespan of the existing locate can be extended. The length of this refreshed or extended lifespan will be determined by you and the buried facility operator together.  

For large or long-term projects, it is expected that the ground disturber will break the project into sections when placing locate requests to better coordinate the provision of locates with the progress of the ground disturbance. If at any time you are of the opinion that the locate marks are not adequate for the successful and safe completion of the work, you must request new locates.

Always remember to follow safe digging processes. Learn more about Hand Expose Zones, Special Situations, Field Problems and other important ground disturbance practices by visiting The Damage Prevention Process in Alberta (

Mona Bartsoff, FortisAlberta


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