Updated April 3, 2020

Thank you for your interest in the latest information related to the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting industry stakeholders and the Blue Stakes process. We encourage all stakeholders to follow the advice of medical and public health personnel in an effort to continue to prioritize safety.

Since this is an ever-changing situation, we will do our best to update this page with our status and other pertinent information as the conditions change. We appreciate your efforts and patience during this unprecedented situation in our state, country, and around the world. Please remember to stay safe and make wise decisions that will be most beneficial to the well being and safety of everyone in our communities.

Blue Stakes of Utah 811 Notification Center

Blue Stakes continues to operate normally to ensure the safety of the public and the protection of the facilities we all use and need. Our past and ongoing focus on disaster mitigation and readiness has prepared us to continuously operate during this COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to continue to be 100% functional with our contact center operations and online services to receive underground utility locate requests from the excavation community and homeowners, and to continue to provide those notices to our member facility owners as expected. Here are a few things to know about Blue Stakes:

    • All Employees are able to work from home, allowing for social distancing and mitigating the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. 
    • Blue Stakes phone, ticketing, and other critical systems are redundant, including hosting in the cloud and out-of-state locations.
    • As the communications link between facility owners and the excavating public, Blue Stakes is able to quickly communicate information as needed to those in our system.

Our mission remains the same as it has for over 45 years – to promote public safety, protect underground facilities, and minimize service interruptions.

Blue Stakes Staffing and Events

Blue Stakes has implemented emergency response measures in accordance with updates from the CDC, WHO, Utah Health Department, Governor Herbert, and other medical and professional authorities, in order to ensure the well-being of staff, industry partners, and the citizens of Utah. These measures include, but are not limited to:

    • All group interactions and meetings modified to be done virtually, if possible;
    • Cancelling or postponing all large and small group activities, events, and meetings of as few as 10 people or less if adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing cannot be met and if unable to be done virtually;
    • Minimizing on-site contact center staff, limiting public access to the contact center, and enacting hygiene policies in the best interest of employees and the public;
    • Addressing any concerns and requested accommodations by staff in relation to their personal and family needs.

Excavators (Professional and Homeowners)

Professional excavators, homeowners, and others should continue to submit locate requests prior to their excavation projects. Thank you for your continued efforts in being a safe digging partner.

Please know that Utah State Code 54-8a (Damage to Underground Utility Facilities aka the Blue Stakes Law) has not changed and all member facility owners/operators are still required to mark all underground facilities within 48 hours of the request (not including weekends and holidays). Blue Stakes does not have any authority to adjust this law or modify it in any way.

However, we ask anyone excavating to have patience and prudence as there may be delays in the locating and marking during this time. To avoid damage to facilities and public safety risks, please ensure all underground facilities have been identified and marked before beginning to dig. Also, please do not create locate requests for areas that you will not be excavating in within 14 days – this will allow the focus to be on marking the facilities in the areas that are being excavated around.

Please visit our EPR – Electronic Positive Response system (https://www.bluestakes.org/epr/) to view specific information on the status of the locating for your tickets. Please note that not all members are fully participating in the EPR program yet, so there may be marking in the field that are not indicated in this system.

Member Facility Owners/Operators and Contract Locating Companies

Blue Stakes has not received specific requests from any member facility owner about special circumstances during this situation, so we expect all member utilities to continue to have their facilities located and marked as normal.

We know that the safety of employees and the public are at our member facility owners’ core interest, which is why they continue to locate and mark during this time. But that safety concern may also be the cause of some reduction in the amount of staff available to locate and mark facilities due to COVID-19 related disruptions.

If there are delays because of this situation, we ask that this information is communicated to our EPR (Electronic Positive Response) system and the excavator. This will help ensure the safety of both individuals and underground facilities.

Please contact our member services department at member@bluestakes.org or 801-208-2100, option 3 for more information and assistance in setting up this service. Our EPR system can be a great tool to pass along these delays to excavators, including additional information and links. Some related EPR codes for delays that may be used during this time are shown below.

    400 ONGOING – CURRENTLY WORKING WITH EXCAVATOR
    402 ONGOING – EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES EXIST – WILL CONTACT THE EXCAVATOR DIRECTLY

Helpful links

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – https://www.coronavirus.gov/
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) – https://www.cdc.gov/
WHO (World Health Organization) – https://www.who.int/
Utah Department of Health – https://health.utah.gov/
Governor Herbert – https://governor.utah.gov/
Keeping Utah Informed – https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
Utah State Code 54-8a (aka Blue Stakes Law) – https://www.bluestakes.org/bylaws-2/
Blue Stakes Online Locate Request Options – https://www.bluestakes.org/requests/
Blue Stakes Electronic Positive Response page – https://www.bluestakes.org/epr/


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