Friday, January 23, 2015

Call Before You Dig Sunshine 811

Do you know that Florida Law requires that you call 811 before you dig in your yard? I must honestly say, that in the "beginning," a while back, I did not know it was the law! When I had Duval Fence company install my fancy privacy fence, they told me they'd call to locate the lines. Nobody ever came out and marked my property. The day of the fence post installation, Duval Fence hit my AT&T line and took out my service. We were extremely LUCKY they did not take out the JEA power line!

Drake Chinese Elm Tree Cut Down

So, fast forward to January 16, 2015. I had called Camden and Son Tree Service to prune my Drake Chinese Elm tree in the front yard. When they showed up to give me an estimate on pruning, one thing led to another. "OK, how much to take it out?" I asked Diane Camden. She took a bit of time to survey the tree, walking around it and looking at the roots on the ground.

I knew it wouldn't be cheap, and I was ready for it. I didn't counter Diane about the price, as it encompassed tree and stump removal. The price? $475.00; which I paid immediately upon the tree removal. "OK, go ahead and take it out!" I told Diane. Camden and Son Tree Service cut down my Drake Chinese Elm tree in about two hours time.

Drake Chinese Elm Tree Removal by Camden and Son Tree Service
Drake Chinese Elm Tree Removal by Camden and Son Tree Service
Photo Taken : January 16, 2015
As Diane Camden and crew were cleaning up, I mentioned to Diane that I would be calling Sunshine 811 before the stump was to be ground. And, to not schedule stump grinding right away, but wait for me to call her. By the time I finished up in the front yard, doing more intensive cleaning of the street, drive, and yard, it was too late to reach anyone at 811. It was interesting when I called the number, that you get a message about 911 - if you meant to call 911 instead of 811, you needed to hangup and redial.

It was Friday evening, and obviously I couldn't call over the weekend since the offices were closed. Then, we came into a holiday on Monday! So, Tuesday morning, I called a little past 9am. The gal I talked with was so difficult to understand; she totally had a computer voice! Probably from taking so many of these "call before you dig" calls.

Drake Chinese Elm Tree Removal by Camden and Son Tree Service
Drake Chinese Elm Tree Removal by Camden and Son Tree Service
Photo Taken : January 16, 2015
More Information on Call Before You Dig

If you Google, "call before you dig," you can find a number of sites such as the Jacksonville Electric Authority JEA which has a page devoted to calling before you dig. You can check the list of colors from The American Public Works Association (APWA) Uniform Color Codes for temporary marking of underground utilities. The color of red designates electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables. That was the color that graced the front, middle and side of my front yard!

After taking time to read the JEA page, I moved on to Sunshine 811. I put a call reminder into my Outlook for Tuesday morning.

Sunshine 811

On Tuesday mornning, when I called 811, it was about a ten minute call to share my "call before you dig" information. Almost instantaneously, when I hung up, I had received a confirmation email with all my information. The very next email I received was an AT&T alert email telling me I was near a fiber optic location. That was rather coincidental as I had called AT&T on Friday, after the tree removal, to schedule a rebury request.

On Saturday afternoon, an AT&T technician showed up. We talked a bit about the tree removal and stump grinding to be completed. He saw that my AT&T line was already exposed in its location right next to the stump perimeter. He began to pull up the line, probably a little too aggressively, as he took out a lot of my grass along the line. He then said he could complete the bury request and proceeded to bury the line more to the edge of my property.

Wednesday afternoon, around 2:30pm, Pete from the JEA stopped by to mark my yard. He walked around with his line finder a good bit, first checking the side easement. He wasn't seemingly locating the JEA power line. Next, he came over to the front easement and walked toward the stump. Bingo! He found a line that was running higher up in my front yard, well outside the normal front easement, parallel to the street. He marked that area with red and continued toward the stump.

OH NO! The next set of red markings were surely cause for some alert. It seems the JEA power line is located beneath the stump, almost to the middle of it. He followed the course to the house and on to the side where the meter is located. It was then obvious that the stump grinding would be difficult to accomplish.

JEA Red Markings identify power line location
JEA Red Markings identify power line location
Photo Taken : January 21, 2015
I peeked over Pete's shoulder to see the depth readings on his line finder. At the outside perimeter of the stump location, it read 2.5 ft. Right in front of the stump, where there is still a bit of a root ball, it was reading 3.0 ft. I asked Pete how he would proceed, and does the JEA remove stumps? He had said it can be done, but that you might want two people involved. And, he also suggested to possibly dig gingerly down to locate the line first.

I called Diane and left her a message about the findings. When I got home later that evening, I had a voice message from her saying that it wasn't worth somebody losing their life over the stump grinding.

At this writing, I have left two additional voice mails for Diane suggesting we not try grinding the stump, but that we have her crew bring the stump and roots to the ground level. She hasn't called me back, but I am extremely hopeful she will. I am not equipped to finish the job and I surely can't plant my sod before the stump is handled.

More Emails from Sunshine 811

The next email that I received from Sunshine 811 was a very short survey for first-time callers. I think that survey was a bit too brief in its data capture. Perhaps there will be another followup survey?

Not quite 48 hours after my initial call, I received a final response email that detailed all the utility respondents.
JACKSONVILLE ELECTRIC AUTHORITY: JEA-WSBU WATER - No Conflict - utility is outside of the requested work site
JACKSONVILLE ELECTRIC AUTHORITY: JEA-WSBU - SEWER - No Conflict - utility is outside of the requested work site
JACKSONVILLE ELECTRIC AUTHORITY - Marked
A T & T/ DISTRIBUTION - Clear No Facilities
COMCAST CABLE COMMUNICATIONS INC - Clear No Facilities
Sunshine 811 - Call Before You Dig - Response Status
Sunshine 811 - Call Before You Dig - Response Status
I also opted to visit the site to check on the status of my call request. "The most up-to-date response status can always be gathered at http://www.online811.com/IRTHOneCall/ or by calling 1 - (800) 852 - 8057." By inputting my confirmation and phone numbers, I pulled up the same information. I was/am good to go.

HOA Approval

By the way! When Diane Camden showed up for the tree pruning, and ultimate removal, she asked, "Do you need HOA approval?" We talked about that and she offered that she didn't think my next door neighbor got such an approval prior to removing two large trees from the front of her house. After the tree was removed and Diane and her crew were gone, the two female neighbors came back over to talk with me. They wanted to know how much it cost! Their high number was $100 under my actual cost. "Well, that includes stump grinding, so I guess $475 is worth it." said the one neighbor.

I mentioned to the other neighbor, who is the president of our HOA, about the conversation about HOA approval. She wanted to know who said I needed approval; I said the tree lady brought it up. At that time, she didn't confirm I needed prior approval. It wasn't until Monday afternoon that I got an email with a copy of the ARC form to complete and return; after the fact!

What's Next?

I am on hold to finish beautifying my front yard until Camden and Son Tree Service return to level the stump. Gosh, I do hope they come back! It is a positive that I have more curb exposure for my home; but the stump looks a bit out of place. The exposure is good because this house is for sale!! Hello, Diane?