Call Before You Dig Program

The Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA) is participating in New Jersey’s underground facilities One Call Damage Prevention System. Bergen County is one of the most densely populated counties in the state and the BCUA’s sewage force mains are located adjacent to rivers and streams, as well as potable water resources. Excavation damage to the BCUA’s force mains can result in serious injury or death, disruption of critical public health service, great financial expense, and substantial environmental damage.

To help prevent excavation damage, the BCUA is a member of the New Jersey “Call Before You Dig” program. One Call Systems, Inc. provides excavators with toll-free numbers to call (8-1-1 or 1-800-272-1000) and then notifies the BCUA to have its underground forced sewage pipes marked-out. After being marked-out by BCUA, the excavator must hand dig and locate the force main within two feet of a mark-out before operating any mechanized equipment.

The current cost of receiving a mark-out request from One-Call Systems, Inc. is approximately $1.12 each for a total cost to BCUA of less than $5,000 annually. A BCUA sewer inspector, sewer maintenance worker, or pump station operator will mark, stake, locate, or otherwise provide the position of the forced sewage pipe that may be affected, within three (3) business days of a request. The BCUA representative locates and then marks-out the BCUA’s sewage force mains using approved standards. Green is the designated color for sewage force mains.

Any excavator who fails to call for a mark-out and damages the BCUA’s sewage force mains is liable for the cost of repair, environmental damages, and possible civil penalties in accordance with the New Jersey Underground Facility Protection Act.

Bumper stickers are placed on BCUA vehicles to promote the “Call Before You Dig” underground facilities damage prevention program. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is designated as the agency charged with overseeing and enforcing compliance with the “One-Call” law.

BCUA management maintains a record of all damage to its underground force mains and provides an updated copy to the BPU on a quarterly basis, as required. All the requirements for the “One-Call” law are included in the New Jersey Underground Facility Protection Act and New Jersey Administrative Code Chapter 2, and Mark-out Appendix A.