Who is Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc., and What do we do?

Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. is a 39 year old nonprofit trade association whose purpose is to prevent damage to underground utilities.  In Pennsylvania, excavators who disturb the earth with powered equipment are required, by law, to notify companies who own underground lines of their intent to excavate before they dig.  They notify the utilities through us. 

Excavators call us at least three business days before they intend to dig.  Pennsylvania One Call System then contacts underground line owners near the dig site, and the owner of the underground line is responsible for ‘marking’ where their line(s) are located with colored paint or flags.  This gives the excavator more awareness that underground lines are nearby during excavation.

Once the underground facility owner marks the dig site with colored paint or flags, they tell us “marked”.  If the underground line owner does not have lines near where the excavator will dig, they tell us “clear”.  It is important to note that the underground line owner is responsible for marking lines if their facilities are involved.  Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. is not responsible for marking underground lines.

Underground facility owners are required, by law, to be a member of Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc.  As of December 2011, we had 3,435 members across the state of Pennsylvania – including water companies, natural gas companies, pipeline companies, municipalities and electric companies.

Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. acts as an information broker between excavators and underground facility owners.  Excavators inform us of their intent to dig, we notify underground facility owners on their behalf, underground facility owners tell us “marked” or “clear” near the dig site, and we tell the excavators “marked” or “clear” before excavation is scheduled to begin.

Pennsylvania Act 287 of 1974, as amended by Pennsylvania Act 121 of 2008, is the law that requires excavators to notify a One Call System, and the law that requires underground facility owners to belong to a One Call System. 

In 2010, Pennsylvania One Call System accepted more than 665,000 calls for excavation and sent over 5 million messages to 3,400 critical infrastructure members across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.