Utility Line Separation

Every year, thousands of miles of new utility lines are placed underground in the Commonwealth, and proper separation during installation is essential to the safe operation and maintenance of these underground utility lines. Installing a utility line without proper separation poses a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the Commonwealth and the environment.

At a minimum, persons installing underground utility lines are encouraged to review the following laws, rules, documents and standards that address utility line separation and comply with the requirements and standards when applicable.

Additionally, inquire with the locality where new utility lines are to be placed underground about any local codes, standards, or regulations that specify minimum separation distances.

  • Code of Virginia: § 56-257. Manner of installing underground utility lines.
  • Virginia Administrative Code: 20VAC5-325-30. Installation of utility lines.
  • Code of Federal Regulations: Part 192 Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline: Minimum Federal Safety Standards: §192.325
  • Code of Federal Regulations: Part 195 Transportation of Hazardous Liquids By Pipeline: §195.250
  • Department of Health's Waterworks Regulations, 12VAC5-590-1150. Separation of water mains and sewers.
  • National Electrical Safety Code® (“NESC®”): Rules 353 & 354
    Note: The NESC is published exclusively by the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, Inc. Contact the IEEE for information on how to obtain a copy.