The Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-183, June 22, 2016), directed the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with stakeholders, to conduct a study on improving existing damage prevention programs through technological improvements in location, mapping, excavation, and communications practices to prevent excavation damage to a pipe or its coating, including considerations of technical, operational, and economic feasibility and existing damage prevention programs. PHMSA held a technology forum focused heavily on the threat of
excavation damage to pipeline safety, consulted with key trade associations and worked with CGA to conduct a survey to obtain these results. In August, PHMSA made their Conclusions and Recommendations to Congress.
The technology gaps PHMSA identified included :
• Accurately locating and documenting the location of existing underground facilities
• Continued development of predictive analytics to sort the major risks using multiple data sources
• Adoption of best practices and education of public
• Broad use of GPS with accuracy standards
The final recommendations presented by PHMSA included :
1. Development of collaboration/communication tools that foster better communication
between the excavator and pipeline operator throughout the excavation process
2. Evaluation and implementation of predictive analytic tools to identify and address
3. Improvement and implementation of GPS/GIS technologies in accurately locating and
documenting the location of underground facilities
4. Require damage data reporting
5. Promote universal participation in the One-Call process
6. Consider development of national standards for certain state One Call requirements
7. Implementation of the program started by PHMSA in 2016 of evaluating state damage
prevention enforcement programs
8. Pursuit of improvements in locating processes, technologies, and right-of-way
9. Promote the continued identification and implementation of the CGA and other damage prevention best practices, including effective ways to communicate and reach out to the public, and the education of stakeholders toward the benefits thereof
Although the official work the CGA performed for this study is done, the CGA Technology Committee continues to encourage submissions to its ongoing technology survey. The committee will be creating an Annual Technology Report and is looking for input in three areas: technology in use that can be shared to help others prevent damages, opportunities or gaps where technology could be useful, and field case studies of new technology being introduced. Reporting to this survey or getting in touch with one of the committee members can both be accomplished on the CGA Technology page at http://com
mongroundalliance.com/about-us/committees/technology. Between the PHMSA study and subsequent conclusions and recommendations to Congress, to the continued work CGA is investing in, to the almost daily reports of new technologies being unveiled within the industry, it seems like technology changes so fast it is hard to keep up. It seems every time you turn around, someone else is sharing a new technology that helps us do our job faster, better, safer, and often even more cost-effectively. If you look at the special section on the 2018 CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo (pages 24-37), you can’t help but notice how many presenters are sharing new technologies and new ways to do things.
These are important changes, and they are the future of the industry. That is why we here at Damage Prevention Professional have added a new spotlight focus, New Technology to our winter issue. Every year we will devote this issue to exploring and sharing these technological advances within the industry.
We hope you find it as informative and educational as we do!