Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Regulated Materials

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Out-of-Service Utilities


Jim Zigman: 651-366-4668
Ann Driver: 651-366-4620

MnDOT has prepared this guidance document to provide its internal procedures and requirements for work performed on MnDOT Rights of Way, including MnDOT-owned facilities. This document should not be construed as a full description of all regulations pertaining to the subject matter. Contact the Regulated Materials Unit (RMU) in the MnDOT Office of Environmental Stewardship for additional information or legal requirements.

Management of Out-of-Service Utilities


Utilities, such as natural gas or fuel lines, fiber optics, storm and sanitary sewers are placed in MnDOT Rights of Way during road construction projects, stand-alone utility installation projects and when utilities are upgraded. This guidance addresses management of out-of-service utilities on MnDOT Rights of Way. Out-of-service utilities should be removed for proper disposal but circumstances discussed below may prevent removal. State statutes are noted in this document, which provide requirements when out-of-service utilizes are left in-place.

Out-of-Service Utilities in Sensitive Areas

Some utilities may be located in a floodplain, shore land, wetland or wild and scenic river land use district. Installation of these utilities should have been completed under a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and/or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit. The conditions of this document apply to out-of-service utilities in these settings. Therefore, OES and CO Utilities staff should be consulted prior to removal in these areas.

Leaving Utilities In-Place

Many times it is not possible to remove utilities when they are taken out-of-service. The reasons for leaving utilities in-place include, but are not limited to:

  • Excavation for highway project is not in the vicinity of the utility (either laterally or vertically);
  • Utility depths are typically layered, such as 3 feet for fiber optic, 4-5 feet for natural gas, 10-40 feet for sanitary sewers, which can limit what utilities can be removed on a project; or
  • Leaving an out-of-service utility in-place can have an engineering benefit because removal of the utility can cause substantial damage to the highway Rights of Way or adjacent property structures.

Additional information about leaving MnDOT-owned out-of-service concrete utilities in-place, such as culverts and other drainage structures, on MnDOT projects is contained in the guidance document on managing concrete pavement, structures and debris.

Disposal Requirements

Out-of-service utilities that are exposed on projects must be removed. Every effort should be made to remove utilities that have hazardous materials, including but not limited to, asbestos-containing materials. However, utilities may remain in-place if they are beyond the extent of excavation necessary for the project. Any utility material that is capable of being removed will be removed for proper disposal or reuse/recycling and not reburied. The ends of out-of-service utilities that are not removed must be capped. Regulated asbestos-containing materials must be handled and disposed by a Minnesota Department of Health-licensed asbestos abatement contractor. The cost of the utility removal is the responsibility of the utility owner.

Documentation Requirements and Associated Regulations

The utility owner is responsible for documenting and tracking the out-of-service utility.

MS §216D.04, Subd. 3 (f) requires utility owner/operator to “maintain maps, drawings, diagrams or other records of any underground facility abandoned or out-of-service after December 31, 1998.”

MR Ch. 7560.0125, subp. 1 requires utility owner/operator to “provide readily available information, as shown on maps, drawings, diagrams, or other records used in the normal course of business, on the approximate location of abandoned and out-of-service facilities…”

Gopher State One Call (referred to as “One Call Excavation” in statute and rule), contains information “to update excavators, homeowners and utilities on the new initiatives, laws, applications and many other items” that pertain to excavating and utilities.

MnDOT will follow the same procedure outlined above for management of MnDOT-owned utilities. MnDOT will retain documentation of out-of-service utilities left in-place in District or Central Office files.