Monthly Update - December 2022

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Register Now for the 2023 CGA Conference & Expo  

Author: Sarah Magruder Lyle, CGA President and CEO

The damage prevention industry’s foremost experts and decision makers will gather together for the 2023 CGA Conference & Expo happening April 17-21, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. We will share new ideas and collaborations, discuss emerging and innovative technology, and network as we meet our industry’s persistent challenges head-on. With a little less than four months until the Conference kicks off, this is your reminder to register to reserve your spot today!

Conference attendees can look forward to educational, action-oriented programming to engage stakeholders in thoughtful discussions and networking events with key industry decision-makers. In addition, we’re excited to offer new programs to the Conference this year, including:

  • Dedicated Educational Series for 811 Center Boards: Specialized sessions to address the needs of directors to create more effective government process, understand board dynamics and build positive board culture.
  • Dig, Demo, Discuss – presented by Ditch Witch: View new innovative products and services from the damage prevention industry’s leading exhibitors. Just steps from the indoor exhibit floor, you will be able to see equipment in action, demo products and experience hands on learning with our network of professionals. Dedicated hours for demonstrations as well as outdoor education sessions connecting the jobsite to reality will occur.
  • Daily Briefing: Begin your day at 8:11 a.m. as CGA leadership provides an update on our collective progress and opportunities in damage prevention, daily happenings and any changes in the schedule. A daily handout will be provided as well to assist you in navigating all the education and activities.
  • *Offsite Tours: Damage prevention is on the road the final afternoon of the Expo as multiple offsite industry tours with deluxe motor coach transportation are being offered. Learn about how damage prevention process intersects and addresses challenges at various venues throughout the Orlando area.
    • Duke Energy/Disney Solar Farm and City of Orlando Water Reclamation Facility Tour: Tour two different facilities and learn about their operations, maintenance, and how they were developed. At the solar farm, view the panels, inverters, transformer, and weather station and at the water facility, you’ll learn about the wastewater treatment process and its effects on the environment.
    • SeaWorld 2023 Construction Projects Tour: Go on a behind the scenes tour of the construction projects that will be unveiled at SeaWorld in 2023. These range from early-stage development to near completion.
    • Kennedy Space Center Tour – presented by Orbital Sidekick: Go behind the gates of NASA on the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour that includes views of launch pads and the Vehicle Assembly Building. This private, guided tour will include a visit to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which includes a multi-sensory presentation of the Apollo 8 launch. Lastly, head to the visitor’s complex, where the space shuttle Atlantis is displayed. On the bus to and from Kennedy Space Center, learn about results from Orbital Sidekick’s latest space adventures.
  • Official Show DJ – presented by Stake Center Locating: Stay in the know as the one-man hype band known as DJ-Q provides information updates, official show jams and entertains during the CGA Night of Networking Closing Ceremony.
  • *CGA National Cornhole Championship – presented by Rustoleum and Stake Center LocatingBe the boss of the toss and register to win the First Annual CGA National Cornhole Championship. Bracket tournament played daily. All games played during open exhibit hours, no partner substitutions. Single elimination for your chance be crowned, the Champion.

We’re excited to have Susan O’Malley, former president of Washington Sports and Entertainment and the first female president of a professional sports franchise, as the Conference keynote speaker. During her motivational speech, Susan will share her WIN Theory in which she will outline three keys to being a success at any level of business, as well as her own lessons about leadership to help inspire the damage prevention industry to be innovators in the field. In addition to the keynote session, Susan will be a part of the Women in Damage Prevention Roundtable session.

Lastly, we will close the Conference with the always popular and fun CGA Night of Networking presented by Urbint.

You may have recently read in other CGA enewsletters that attempts have been made asking attendees and exhibitors to secure Conference hotel rooms through a third-party vendor. CGA is not using any third parties to secure rooms in the CGA room block.  NO company or individual is authorized to sell or resell rooms in CGA room block at the Caribe Royale, the site of the 2023 Conference. Although seemingly official, they ARE NOT. Please only use for direct links.

Once you have registered for the Conference on our official website, you will receive a link to the discount room block in your registration confirmation email. As a reminder, CGA does not sell registration lists, rooms or other Conference assets.

To learn more about the Conference, including workshops, and sponsorship opportunities, as well as to view the schedule-at-a-glance, visit For questions, please email [email protected].

I look forward to seeing everyone in Orlando in April!

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More than 350 industry professionals attend the 2022 Greater Chesapeake Damage Prevention Training Conference in Ocean City

Author: Matt Ruddo, One Call Concepts

For the thirteenth year, hundreds of damage prevention professionals gathered at the Ocean City Fontainebleau Resort in Ocean City, Md., for the 2022 Greater Chesapeake Damage Prevention Training Conference (GCDPTC), hosted by title sponsors Miss Utility of Delmarva and Miss Utility of Maryland/D.C.

The conference kicked off with a keynote speech from Spencer Beach, who left a lasting impression on attendees as he shared the importance of embracing simple safety measures to prevent costly mistakes, injury and loss. Breakout session topics included a behind the scenes look at the 811 Ticket Process with One Call Concepts, Inc.; a breakdown of how stakeholder groups can contribute to timelier and more efficient locates with industry experts from New York 811 and B. Frank Joy, LLC; and an interactive outdoor training demonstration presented by Chesapeake Utilities Corporation that showcased the importance of natural gas safety.

The GCDPTC honored some of the safest contractors in Maryland and Washington, D.C., for the 2021-2022 Dig Smart Awards, including: Gray & Son, Inc., Excellence Award Winner; Comer Construction, Inc., Maryland Winner; C.W. & Sons Infrastructure, Inc., Washington, D.C. Winner; and Baltimore Tree Trust, Honorable Mention Winner.

Attendees participated in networking events, including the annual cornhole and golf tournaments, as well as the increasingly popular paint and sip event. Additionally, through generous donations at the cornhole tournament and a 50/50 raffle, attendees and networking event sponsor, B. Frank Joy, LLC raised a total of $1,760 for Construction Angels, which provides assistance to families who have lost a loved one as a result of a work-related accident.

The GCDPTC’s highly-anticipated “$811 Dig for Cash” game closed out the conference during grand door prizes, making for a very memorable final day.

The GCDPTC will return to Ocean City, Md., from Oct. 24-27, 2023.

Cities and municipality's role in Right-of-Way construction management and damage prevention

Author: Josh Flud, City of Lubbock

"Is Damage Prevention a Public Safety Matter?"    

I was recently at a state conference regarding damage prevention when the question was asked, "Is damage prevention a public safety matter or a public relations matter?" My first and vocal reaction was, "of course, it is a public safety matter". Anyone that has ever been or worked through a damaged utility incident knows the potential hazards of the situation. The first thing that most people react to is gas line strikes, but let's start with some of the less publicized line strikes.

Electric line strikes and the risk of connecting a wet steel drill stem with high voltage electricity is definitely a public safety concern. Not only is the danger to human life, but also damage to electric lines and transformers upstream of the strike a concern. The inconvenience is to citizens and customers due to power loss and the cost of perishable goods and workforce to repair and restore electric services.

Telecommunication: although most of the public has cell phones today, some people and most businesses still rely on landlines to conduct business. Back when landlines were copper wire in the Rights-of-Way, they could be repaired in a relatively short time frame. With the massive fiber builds the country is seeing and the time-consuming repair of splicing glass tubes, communication to emergency services could and most likely will be out for several hours, if not days. So much of the population receives emergency information by fiber in some form or fashion, not to mention the entire 911 system runs through fiber. Most businesses rely on fiber for credit card transactions, supply chain, and countless other needs, and the man-hours and equipment required to repair the fiber is expensive and time-consuming.

There is no doubt that gas line strikes are dangerous; the instant the gas line is struck, the air-fuel ratio is optimal for ignition. New polylines are prone to static electric charge and can spark when cut. When gas lines are damaged in a confined situation, for example directional boring, the gas finds an old ditch line to travel down. Cities and Municipalities used clay tile pipe in the early construction of wastewater collection systems. The joints of this type of pipe are not airtight, and the lack of soil compaction around the pipe makes the wastewater collection system highly vulnerable to natural gas infiltrating and moving up the line. Service taps create an exit point for the gas to travel up the service line and collect in structures. This is why every damaged gas line response procedure must include removing manhole lids on both sides of the strike and monitoring structures for natural gas. Gas venting into the atmosphere can travel several blocks, thus exposing citizens to all levels of explosive hazards. Evacuation of businesses and homes and the citizens' fear of the potential loss of homes and businesses is unmeasurable. Hit gas lines result in the loss of revenue to businesses due to evacuation or customers' inability to access the property due to road closures, etc. Additional challenges are encountered if a school or hospital is within the vicinity, gas line response procedures now involve local fire and police departments responding to any hazardous material release. The deployment of fire and police personnel and equipment is costly to taxpayers and ties up resources for an unknown amount of time.

All Cities and Municipalities operate water and wastewater systems in some form or another. The damage to water lines causes water outages in residential or commercial properties. Water outages are inconvenient and potentially hazardous to customers when home health care is involved. Potable water contains state-regulated chlorine levels. Although not harmful to humans, chlorine kills bacteria and algae. When chlorinated water flows into rivers or lakes, the chlorine kills algae changing the oxygen levels or causing a rapid water temperature change resulting in a fish kill. Texas Parks and Wildlife investigates anytime there is harm to wildlife, often resulting in state fines to the municipality. Wastewater line damages result in a TCEQ fine, expensive cleanup, and mitigation of the area. Cities and Municipalities have additional expenses other than utility damages. The poor or substandard repair of Rights-of-Way, improper compaction under roadways, damage to private and public property, and use of substandard material to restore roadways all come at a cost to those cities and/or municipalities.

"Financial Liability"

Not only is damage prevention a public safety matter, but it is also a public financial matter. That is why cities and municipalities should take a leading role in damage prevention. Too often, cities and municipalities wait for the state to take the lead in a particular problem. Perhaps damage prevention should start with the city and municipality, which leaves its taxpayers and citizens to bear the cost of damages to infrastructure and utilities. The base cause of the damage could be better identified and handled at the local level. Considering infrastructure as an industry, the involved parties are the franchise owner, franchise contractor, franchise locators, and the city or municipality's Right-of-Way. Out of the entities involved, the city or municipality is the only party with regulatory authority entrusted by the citizens with tax dollars. The State of Texas has given cities and municipalities a lot of power to manage their Rights-of-Way. Cities and municipalities should utilize their authority to reduce damages within their jurisdiction. Contractors on and near roadways pose a danger itself; insurance and traffic control verification, equipment, and material stored overnight must all be done with the traveling public in mind.

 "Creating an Ordinance" 

In March of 2022, the City of Lubbock passed an Infrastructure Ordinance that significantly focused on reducing damages of all types. When writing the Ordinance, the Industry Best Practices and Standards, results of research of damages to city infrastructure, investigation of individual line strikes were considered. The Ordinance was written based on accountability for failure to adhere to best practices, not regulating means and methods. Techniques like white lining the excavation area, potholing utilizing hydro excavation, locating tickets attached to permits, and enforcing the "safe zone" were incorporated into the Ordinance to help reduce utility damages. Right-of-Way Roadway restoration, materials, and testing are all integrated within the City of Lubbock Engineering Minimum Design Standards and Specification and codified by an Ordinance. All the ordinances and technology cannot replace staffing in the field, but we all are dealing with staffing shortages.

"Building an Inspection Team"

When the City of Lubbock took an active role in Right-of-Way construction management and damage prevention, the biggest obstacle was staffing to inspect the work and enforce the Ordinance. Creating and staffing a new Right-of-Way inspection team without the ability to add additional staff was the first major obstacle. A few years prior, the City of Lubbock utility locators had been transferred to the Engineering Inspection Services Department, and at that time, we started standardizing all locate procedures, updating equipment, and training. We had reduced our at-fault line strikes tremendously, but still had trouble retaining staff due to the pay. We took the three locators and one junior inspector and reclassified them into the Right-of-Way Inspector/Locator team. This combination has proven very successful. Once locates are made, the same individual stays with the contractor and conducts inspections and ordinance enforcement. Once created, the inspection team needed a supervisor, and we looked to the Right-of-Way Construction Coordinator for that role. That position was a natural fit since they were already issuing the permit to franchise utility contractors, and the Inspection team would inspect and enforce the Ordinance.

"Investigating and Educating" 

After writing the Ordinance, incorporating Standards and Specifications, and creating an inspection and enforcement team, the results were not what I expected. Instead of a decrease in line strikes, we saw a huge spike! My first reaction was, did we go too far? Have we put so much on the contractor for Right-of-Way restoration that they are getting in a bigger hurry during the excavation and installation phase of the job? What was the actual cause of the line strikes? To answer the three questions, I had to respond to every line strike when it happened. I learned two main reasons: The first was inaccurate locates, and the second was the contractor stopping just short of successfully locating the line. After responding to all the line strikes for eight months, I found that 53% of them were caused by the contractor not knowing what to look for when hydro-excavating or stopping before spotting the utility. With that information, we started three different conversations. First, with the franchise utilities stressing the importance of accurate locating; we could not put all the pressure on the contractors without utility owners doing their part to provide accurate and timely locates. We, as utility owners, set out to standardize how we marked our utility, putting the size and type of utility on every line. That way, when the contractor daylights a utility, they know what they are looking for; I found that we were asking contractors to go out and find something but weren't giving them the information they needed.


It has not been enough time to determine the exact results of our efforts regarding line strikes; however, over the past 10 months, we saw a spike in early spring and a sharp reduction in line strikes since mid-summer. We are still tracking every line strike to review our results and better judge the program's effectiveness. We can demonstrate two specific reductions: reduced "at fault" line strikes to City of Lubbock utilities and reduced maintenance cost in repairs to Rights-of-Way.

GPS data collected during locate & mark for potential GIS integration

Author: Steve Jeong, PG&E

There is an opportunity to improve the accuracy of our gas distribution maps by capturing high accuracy GPS data during the Locate & Mark (L&M) process since there are over hundreds of thousands of workable gas tickets each year; thereby reducing dig-ins from mismarked facilities and delays in locating facilities during maintenance/emergency work. 

In 2016, PG&E’s R&D and Innovation team partnered with L&M and conducted a pilot to compare the GPS locations between the above ground locate and mark versus the actual location of the exposed asset. The average distance was 1.41 feet with 95% confidence level.

As a result of the successful pilot, a larger scale pilot was completed in Q2 2021 utilizing a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-enabled locator. The scope was to compare GPS data from completed General Construction (GC) distribution mobile as-built projects versus above ground GPS locate marks to understand the quality and accuracy of the data for potential integration in PG&E’s Geographic Information System (GIS). 

The pilots demonstrated that precise locates combined with high GPS quality can be digested into PG&E’s GIS to update our gas distribution maps with minimal impact on the current L&M workflow to supplement the distribution mobile as-built solution where portions of PG&E's GIS maps are already being updated with accurate geospatial locations of our assets. 

This project aligns well with key takeaway #4 – “Seizing opportunities to increase investments in technology will be critical to reducing damages to natural gas facilities” from the 2022 CGA White Paper. Next steps include developing a standardized workflow in utilizing the GNSS-enabled locator in the field and engagement with our GIS Center of Excellence team to incorporate a L&M GPS layer in GIS.

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CGA hosts “Data Download and 2023 Outlook” webinar

Author: Erika Lee, CGA Vice President

CGA recently held the “Data Download and 2023 Outlook” webinar to provide a closer look at recently-released data and research, and to share what’s to come for the damage prevention industry in 2023. 

The webinar shared findings and insights from the latest CGA White Paper, “Natural Gas: Leading the Damage Prevention Industry,” which is based on primary data gleaned from surveys and in-depth interviews with natural gas distribution stakeholders. Panelists also discussed the key takeaways from the newly-released 2021 DIRT Report that provides actionable insights for all sectors of the damage prevention industry based on analysis of damage submitted to DIRT. 

In addition to an in-depth review of the latest CGA data, the webinar provided a look ahead to industry priorities for 2023 – and how CGA’s newest arm, the Damage Prevention Institute, will play a role in the new year. 

For those that were unable to attend, click here to view the full webinar online.

Watch KorTerra Food for Thought webinar online

Author: Khrysanne Kerr, VP of Marketing and Outreach  

CGA member KorTerra, a leading provider of ticket management solutions, hosted a Food for Thought webinar in mid-November. 

KorTerra's Jim Plasynski, Brian Peters and Tom Hall discussed the challenges brought on by $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill that was passed in late 2021 and how leading companies are focusing on how a combination of great people, strong processes and modern technology can reduce damages amidst this challenging environment. 

For those that were unable to attend, click here to view the full webinar online.

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Data sheets highlight 2021 DIRT Report key takeaways

Author: Steve Blaney, DIRT Program Manager

CGA recently published the 2021 DIRT Report highlighting ongoing damage prevention challenges amid increasing excavation activity. The annual DIRT Report is the only comprehensive accounting and analysis of damages to buried utilities in the U.S. and Canada, and its valuable insights are an industry resource for targeting damage prevention outreach and programs. 

To highlight the key takeaways and recommendations from the 2021 DIRT Report, CGA has published a series of data sheets in an easily digestible and shareable format, and can be used as a guide for 2023 damage prevention goal-setting. 

To download the complete 2021 DIRT Report and access the interactive DIRT Dashboard, visit Stakeholders interested in submitting data to future DIRT reports or establishing a Virtual Private DIRT account should visit the DIRT site at

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CGA Fall Committee Summit recap

Author: Erika Lee, VP of CGA  

Nearly 125 damage prevention professionals attended the CGA Fall Committee Summit in San Antonio, Tx. Attendees enjoyed three productive days of working committee meetings, luncheons and networking events with fellow members and industry stakeholders. In addition, members learned more about the Damage Prevention Institute, and heard from general session speakers highlighting the latest updates and trends in our industry.

CGA would like to thank the committee co-chairs, task team leads and attendees for participating in productive and thoughtful committee meetings. Here are highlights from each committee:

  • Best Practices Committee approved modifications to five existing Best Practices and the definition of "pothole":
    • 2-3 – Identifying Existing Facilities in Planning and Design
    • 2-14 – Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE)
    • 3-5 – Single Toll-free Statewide Telephone Number
    • 5-15 – Facility Avoidance
    • 5-20 – Excavation within Tolerance Zone

The committee also reviewed proposed modifications to three additional Practices and agreed to return each to the task team for further review:

  • 5-8 – Positive Response
  • 5-9 – Facility Owner/Operator Failure to Respond
  • 5-10 – Locate Verification
  • Data Reporting and Evaluation Committee reviewed highlights and key takeaways from the 2021 DIRT Report. In addition to analysis of the 2021 dataset and consistently reporting companies over the past three years, the report included spotlights on natural gas vs. telecom, Horizontal Directional Drilling and reports submitted by excavators. The committee discussed the importance of good quality data leading to better analysis and the need to make DQI more accessible for users to find and understand. The team discussed possibilities for "data cleaning" that would improve DQI for future DIRT reports.
  • Educational Programs & Marketing Committee reviewed CGA's facility owner/operator video, an initiative led by the Education on the Impacts of One Call Misuse task team. We also heard an update on North Carolina 811's partnerships with Sunbelt Rentals and Lowe's, and unveiled the national retail partnership brochure. The committee provided great feedback on suggestions for the 811 campaign messaging revamp, as well as the first set of terms/language to create a glossary of preferred terms by audience.
  • One Call Systems International Committee discussed the continued work of reviewing Best Practices - Chapter 3 (One Call Center) and the process of getting updates to those practices to the Best Practices Committee for review and approval, as well as the desire to review the OCSI tool for improvement as to what is captured (and what does not need to be part of that process moving forward).
  • Technology Committee Meeting discussed the Committee's mission, and goal of identifying technology and encouraging implementation of it to improve damage prevention activities. Task team leads gave their reports, and committee members identified potential case studies and webinar topics for upcoming Technology Reports and webinars.

For those that were unable to attend, the committee summaries and notes are posted to the corresponding committee pages on Engage.

The Fall Committee Summit would also not have been possible without our member sponsors, including:

  • All Committee Coffee Breaks Sponsor Equix
  • Tuesday Lunch & Committee Spotlight Session Sponsor Irth Solutions
  • Tuesday General Session - Workplace Performance Session and Featured Speaker: Betsy Haas Sponsor Texas 811
  • Committee Reception and Cornhole Tournament Sponsors Stake Center Locating and Texas 811
  • Wednesday Lunch & General Session Sponsor ELM
  • Name Badge Lanyard Sponsor Enertech

For questions or to join a CGA committee, email [email protected].

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