Details for NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC OF A PETITION FOR RULEMAKING TO REVISE REQUIREMENTS FOR TRENCHLESS EXCAVATION

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NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC OF A PETITION FOR RULEMAKING TO REVISE REQUIREMENTS FOR TRENCHLESS EXCAVATION SET FORTH IN RULE 20 VAC 5-309-150 B 4 OF THE STATE CORPORATION COMMISSION'S RULES FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THE UNDERGROUND UTILITY DAMAGE PREVENTION ACT CASE NO. URS-2021-00171 On May 6, 2021, Virginia Natural Gas, Inc. ("Petitioner"), filed a Petition for Rulemaking ("Petition") requesting that the State Corporation Commission ("Commission") initiate a rulemaking for the limited purpose of revising 20 VAC 5 309 150B 4 ("Rule 150 B 4") of the Commission's Rules for Enforcement of the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act that prescribes requirements for post excavation inspection. The proposed revisions ("Proposed Rule") are attached as Attachment A to the Commission's Order Establishing Proceedings. The Petitioner states that the Proposed Rule would provide for greater safety, efficiency, and flexibility when conducting post drill inspections of certain trenchless excavations. The Petitioner states 20 VAC 5-309-150 establishes the requirements for trenchless excavation. Subsection B, in particular, provides that "any person conducting trenchless excavation crossing any gravity fed sewer main or combination storm-sanitary sewer system utility lines need not expose such utility lines by hand digging" if certain steps are taken, including obtaining appropriate documentation from the utility line operator, appropriately locating the utility line and ensuring proper clearance, and conducting a post-excavation inspection to ensure no cross bore or other damage has occurred. The Petitioner seeks the amendment of the rule regarding the post-excavation inspection set forth in subsection B 4. Rule 150 B 4 currently requires the same excavator who performed the pre-excavation inspection and trenchless excavation work to also perform the post-excavation inspection using the same type of video equipment. With its Petition, the Petitioner proposes the revision of Rule 150 B 4 to allow a qualified contractor other than the one who performed the trenchless excavation to conduct the post-excavation inspection of that work. The Proposed Rule would still require a post-excavation video inspection of the sewer lines but provides an alternative to the current requirement that the excavator inspect his or her own excavation work. The Petitioner asserts that the Proposed Rule is in the public interest, as it would enhance the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the post-excavation inspection process. The Petitioner states that in its own experience, opening the post excavation inspection process to qualified contractors who were not involved in pre-inspection and excavation work would allow certain contractors to develop specialized skills in this area, and would facilitate scheduling efficiencies that would benefit the system. The Petitioner further asserts that introducing a neutral third party that specializes in post drill inspection would also provide increased accountability on trenchless excavation projects and stands to potentially reduce damage events. The Petitioner further proposes to remove the requirement that the post excavation inspector use "the same type of video equipment" utilized by the trenchless excavator during the pre excavation inspection. In support, the Petitioner states that qualified contractors may use varying types of closed-circuit video equipment, provided it is suitable to adequately conduct the inspection. An electronic copy of the Petitioner's Petition may be obtained by submitting a written request to counsel for the Petitioner, Jonathan B. Heath, Southern Company Gas, 544 South Independence Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23454, JBHeath@southernco.com. If acceptable to the requesting party, the Petitioner may provide the documents by electronic means. Interested persons also may download unofficial copies from the Commission's website: scc.virginia.gov/pages/Case-Information. On or before August 6, 2021, any interested person may file written comments on the Petition with the Clerk of the Commission, State Corporation Commission c/o Document Control Center, P.O. Box 2118, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2118. In the alternative, comments may be submitted with the Clerk of the Commission electronically by following the instructions found on the Commission's website: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/case. Compact discs or any other form of electronic storage medium may not be filed with the comments. All comments shall refer to Case No. URS-2021-00171. On or before August 13, 2021, any interested person may request that the Commission convene a hearing on the Proposed Rule. If not filed electronically, an original and fifteen (15) copies of such request for hearing shall be filed with the Clerk of the Commission at the address set forth above. Requests for hearing shall refer to Case No. URS-2021-00171 and shall include: (i) a precise statement of the filing party's interest in the proceeding; (ii) a statement of the specific action sought to the extent then known; (iii) a statement of the legal basis for such action; and (iv) a precise statement why a hearing should be conducted in this matter, and why this matter cannot be decided on the pleadings. A copy of any written comments and requests for hearing simultaneously shall be sent to counsel to the Petitioner at the address set forth above. STATE CORPORATION COMMISSION

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