Public Awareness – Winter 2018

811 Soars to New Heights in Illinois

The skies above southern Illinois featured 35 floating globes of color during a busy August weekend of races and glows at the Centralia Balloon Fest. On the ground, more than 30,000 spectators from all over the world had an opportunity to see the 811 Shovelman Balloon and learn more about underground damage prevention.

As one of the proud sponsors of the 811 Balloon this year, volunteers from JULIE (Illinois One-Call System) assisted the pilot and crew and distributed 811 stickers, key tags and information about safe digging practices. The Centralia Balloon Fest is an event of the Greater Centralia Chamber of Commerce.

“Due to this unique partnership, 811 soared to new heights in Illinois,” said Kevin Chmura, director of public relations at JULIE, Inc. “We appreciate the commitment to safety and support of Cox Utility Services Inc. and the Common Ground Alliance.”

Based in Joliet, JULIE represents 1,950 members and covers the state of Illinois, outside the city limits of Chicago. The not-for-profit organization receives and processes 1.55 million locate requests on an annual basis.

Day of the Dozers

Day of the Dozers is a fun family event in Minnesota that provides an opportunity to educate families about the construction industry, while at the same time raising money for Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota.

At the event, children can ride inside a wide variety of construction vehicles alongside a friendly certified machine operator, play in sandpits, participate in other fun activities, and enjoy great food from some delicious local food trucks.

Held September 29, this year’s Day of the Dozers had more than 3,500 attendees and raised over $61,500 for Minnesota Children’s Hospitals & Clinics. This year’s donation is going toward the Children’s Emergency Transport fund. The Minnesota Utility Contractors Association is grateful to all the sponsors, volunteers and participants who support this effort with good will, safety messages and especially helping families in need.

Gopher State One Call Partners with Minnesota United Football Club for 811


Gopher State One Call (GSOC) is excited to announce their 2019 corporate partnership with Major League Soccer team the Minnesota United Football Club (MNUFC). Since 2012, Major League Soccer interest and viewership has increased substantially across the United States. Partnering with MNUFC also provides a unique opportunity to reach a diverse and multicultural fanbase. The 2019 season is also special for Minnesota United, their fans and GSOC as it will be the inaugural season hosted in the brand new, state-of-the-art soccer stadium, Allianz Field. The opening of this facility adds increased excitement to the team and venue, allowing GSOC an opportunity to educate Minnesotans on the importance of 811. With in-stadium seating for 20,000 and ample outdoor green space for tailgating, food trucks, games and more, GSOC anticipates reaching a large, in-person audience with their message.

The partnership will include stadium signage, in-match mentions, cobranded promotional items, fan engagement outside the stadium (to include the 811 Bike and 811 Trike), season-long sweepstakes sponsorship, digital media presence on MNUFC website, social media and match streaming, and a video detailing the construction of Allianz Field with an emphasis on the buried utilities in and around the stadium as a PSA for 811 and “Click or Call Before You Dig.”

The Minnesota United regular season will kick off in March and run through October – perfect timing for Minnesota’s busy spring/summer dig season.

Estelle Hickman is Sr. Marketing and Public Relations Specialist with Gopher State One Call. She can be reached at

ISE Expo 2018

Attendees from every corner of the ICT ecosystem showed up for a standing-room-only keynote address, The Evolution of Fiber Networks, from Jack Waters, CTO and President of Fiber Solutions, Zayo Group at the 2018 ISE EXPO. Three days of robust education included more than 30 seminars, advanced workshops, live demos and a crowded exhibit floor with 200 vendors showcasing their latest products, technologies and network solutions. The event was topped off with the very popular ISE Tech Talk presentations by top executives from TDS, Verizon and Windstream. (View their keynotes on Attendees and exhibitors also connected for some quality networking and peer-to-peer mind-sharing on the show floor during the casual Happy Hour networking event. Be sure to save the date for ISE EXPO 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas, September 24-26, 2019 at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

New York Legislature Passes Amendment to Increase One Call Center Education

In June, the New York State Legislature passed Senate Bill S.6756 and Assembly Bill 9985 requiring any operator or contractor working for a municipality to receive education on safe digging best practices from their local One Call Center. With Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature in early November, the bill became law in New York State.

Currently, Dig Safely New York educates between 13,000 and 16,000 professionals annually, with more than 1,000 receiving their training each year through the Certified Excavator Program (CEP) in Safe Digging Best Practices. The General Business Law was amended to include “… any local government (defined as a county, town [or], city [outside the city of New York or a county within the city of New York] or Village) that contracts with an excavator to excavate underground facilities must require the excavator to complete the One Call notification system training and education program.” This amendment has led to all local government contracted excavators becoming a Certified Excavator through Dig Safely New York’s Certified Excavator Program.

Dig Safely New York’s mission is to protect the state’s underground infrastructure and the individuals who live in the communities they serve. Under this bill, the Dig Safely New York Certified Excavator Program in Safe Digging Practices constitutes as “adequate training.” Currently, there are more than 2,000 Certified Excavators throughout the state.

CGA’s 2019 Committee Meeting Schedule

Please mark your calendars for next year’s Common Ground Alliance committee meetings, and stay tuned to the events page on CGA’s website for updates!

Las Vegas, Nevada

• Jan. 22-23: Education

Tampa, Florida

• March 25-27: All committees

San Diego, California

• July 23: Data, Education

• July 24: Technology, Best Practices

• July 25: Board of Directors

Nashville, Tennessee

• Nov. 18: OCSI

• Nov. 19: Stakeholder, Education, Data

• Nov. 20: Best Practices, Technology

• Nov. 21: Board of Directors

Connecticut Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Call Before You Dig

2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of Call Before You Dig, Inc. in the state of Connecticut. Call Before You Dig celebrated the anniversary on August 26th when the 811 Shovelman Balloon was in Connecticut for the Plainville Fire Company Hot Air Balloon Festival. Call Before You Dig also held an anniversary party on August 26th bringing together board members, past board members and various stakeholders to commemorate the anniversary of Damage Prevention in Connecticut.

Digging on the Farm

Good Fruit Grower – Whether it’s the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) or the Pipeline Ag Safety Alliance (PASA), the message is always the same: Call 811 Before Digging!

Every farmer or grower digs in the soil, which means there is always a chance of hitting a buried utility line. Growers use a wide range of heavy equipment when working their land, including backhoes and mowers, and all have the potential to damage underground pipelines or utilities.

“The problem is often compounded in tree fruits by the fact that these are long-term crops. A grove or orchard can be in place for many years, in some cases up to 50 years or more,” explained Gene McAvoy, vice president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. “Given such long time frames, soil can erode, exposing once-buried lines and people often forget about the lines or the exact location of the buried lines.”

Some orchards often include annual tree replacements, which involves digging a substantial hole that could be deep enough to damage an underground utility. McAvoy emphasizes that tree-fruit growers need to be especially cognizant of underground utilities.

Fortunately, all growers can check for utility line locations easily by simply calling 811, which connects you to a call center in your state that will notify the appropriate public utility companies in your area. These companies will have locators check your dig area and mark the location of all their utilities buried underground.

It is important that growers advise their entire staff about safe digging practices and to call 811 before starting any digging project.

New Program Steers Women Toward Construction Industry

Tampa, FL – Women Building Futures is a new program offered at the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women in Tampa, Florida. The 15-week course teaches women hands-on skills that will allow them to compete in the job market for tradesmen and construction jobs throughout the Bay Area.

“There’s a big demand for workers in the construction field so this class gives the ladies the opportunity to be able to go out and compete in that arena,” explained Kimberly Kitchen, project coordinator.

The course starts with the basics, knowing what the tools are and how to use them… starting with how to properly use a hammer and nail. While the new knowledge and skillsets allow women to compete for higher paying jobs in construction, some students have used their new-found knowledge and skills to enter the real estate business or to flip houses after fixing them up.

The program is funded by Hillsborough County Community Development. Graduates earn certification from The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and OSHA 10 certification. Course sessions include: Introduction to Hand Tools, Construction Math, Masonry, Basic Carpentry, Construction Drawing, Drywall, Painting, Flooring and Construction Administration.

Georgia’s “Queen of Damage Prevention” Claudette Campbell Announces Retirement

Claudette Campbell, CEO of Georgia 811, has announced her retirement date of April 1, 2019. “Campbell has accomplished many things in Georgia and nationally, in addition to mentoring and inspiring those around her,” said Meghan Wade, President of Georgia 811.

Claudette Campbell

On April 1, 1980, Campbell was named Executive Director of Utilities Protection Center, Inc. (UPC). She had formerly been with Southern Bell (1973 – 1980) rising from a clerical position to a supervisor on the Outside Plant Maintenance Methods staff before becoming manager of an in-house One Call system. This in-house One Call processed 7,276 locate requests in 1974. It was this in-house system that became the stand-alone nonprofit UPC.

During this time, Georgia’s dig law only mandated that gas facilities mark their lines and there was no mandatory membership. Campbell took the show on the road, visiting public and private utility companies to encourage them to voluntarily join UPC and begin the creation of a statewide damage prevention program.

In 1986, Campbell was elected as the Chair of the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) One Call Systems International (OCSI) and she served on the Advisory Committee of Underground Focus Magazine. The following year, she was elected to APWA’s national Utility Location and Coordination Council and was eventually named Chair in 1990. In 1991, she was the elected President of the Georgia Chapter of APWA and became the first female to hold this title.

During the 1990s, Campbell led the UPC to become the first One Call Center to allow excavators to create locate requests online. Today, more than 60% of locate requests are created in this manner.

In 1996, Campbell was selected to serve on the Damage Prevention Quality Action Team as a result of the Federal Department of Transportation’s (DOT) creation of a national underground utility damage prevention awareness campaign. As this campaign was finalized, Campbell became the Co- Chair of the Dig Safely Committee which created the National Dig Safely Campaign. She took a huge role in the implementation of this campaign traveling across the U.S. and Canada and presenting to professional associations. This work lead to the creation of the Best Practices Committee created by the DOT. In 2000, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) was formed and Campbell was named as Co-Chair of the CGA Education Committee.

Campbell has reached many milestones and received many awards over her career, including the Service Awards from the Atlanta and Georgia Chapters of APWA in 1986. She was recognized by the U.S. DOT in 1992 and 1999 for her contributions to the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee and for keeping “Georgia Safe and Connected.” She was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the International Utility Locate Rodeo in 2002. In 2004, Campbell received the APWA Georgia Chapter’s William J. Humma Award for Service. She is the fifth recipient of this award since its creation in 1986. Campbell also received the CGA Hall of Fame award in 2005 along with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Cause of Damage Prevention from the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA). In 2007, Campbell and her team made sure UPC was 811 compliant and the organization began doing business as Georgia 811 in 2010.

“Claudette has been a trailblazer, problem solver, role model and innovator,” added Wade.

New York 811 Awards More Than $10,000 in Scholarships to Local High School Seniors

In its inaugural year, the New York 811 Scholarship Program provided scholarships to ten students throughout New York City and Long Island.

NEW YORK 811 announced the winners of its first-ever college scholarship program over the summer, awarding more than $10,000 to local graduating high school seniors. Following a review process of more than 100 applications, the New York 811 Scholarship Program has awarded ten $1,008.11 single-year scholarships to students in all five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties in Long Island.

The brand-new New York 811 Scholarship Program serves as an opportunity to engage with local youth about the importance of safe digging and how New York 811 works to keep the community safe. In the United States, an underground utility is damaged every few minutes because someone did not contact 811. New York 811 Is the One Call center for New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, and calling 811 or visiting New York 811 online two business days prior to digging is essential in preventing damages, injuries, and costly fines.

Students were selected from six geographic zones outlined as Brooklyn (two scholarships), Queens and Staten Island (two scholarships), Bronx (one scholarship), Manhattan (one scholarship), Nassau County (two scholarships) and Suffolk County (two scholarships). The 2018 winners include:

• From Zone 1, covering Brooklyn: Leslieann Flores and Rachel Qiu

• From Zone 2, covering Queens and Staten Island: Alexandra Przyborowski and Jasmine Amladi

• From Zone 3, covering Bronx: Leilanny Sosa

• From Zone 4, covering Manhattan: Taj Alston

• From Zone 5, covering Nassau County: Andrew Greenberg and Victoria Lattanzio

• From Zone 6, covering Suffolk County: Charles Rock and Kevin Lewis

“It’s an honor to recognize these accomplished students with the New York 811 Scholarship,” said New York 811 Executive Director Roger Sampson. “Together, they make up future engineers, aspiring teachers, future business leaders and medical professionals, and prove it’s never too early to engage our community’s young people about caring for our infrastructure and keeping those around us safe.”

Scholarship applicants were evaluated on their academic record, participation in extracurricular activities, a letter of recommendation and a personal essay explaining the importance of New York 811 and how it could relate to the career path they planned to pursue in the future.

The ten recipients of the New York 811 Scholarships and their families were treated to a New York Mets game on August 2nd, where their accomplishments were honored in an on-field ceremony.

2018 International Locate Rodeo: Weather Forecast Forces Change in Plans


The 2018 International Locate Rodeo was scheduled for Saturday, October 13, but “Mother Nature” had different plans! With 100% rain in the forecast for Rodeo Day, tough decisions had to be made for this year’s competition. At 10:00 a.m. on Friday, October 12, we decided to move the competition to that afternoon instead of the following morning. The mandatory meeting was set for noon, competitors and volunteers carpooled the 15 to 20 minutes to the Texas Motor Speedway and the competition began around 2:00 p.m.

Texas811 staff was called and many were able to drop what they were working on at the office to head over to help out. Sponsors and vendors were readily available to help in any way possible. Within a few hours, all volunteers were repositioned and everything was set to go.

Dave Van Wy, with JULIE, took a few competitors early to begin the “Locate From Hell” event, while everyone else stayed behind to attend breakout sessions. Guests with vehicles pitched in so that those who needed a ride could get to the event site. Some competitors had to meet onsite because they were still in route to the hotel.

Volunteers were shuttled to their stations, and shortly afterwards, competitors made their way to their designated areas and the competition was underway.

While the weather wasn’t spectacular that Friday afternoon, it was more tolerable than what the forecast was projecting for the following day. Now the task was to get through the entire competition before it was too dark to see anything. It was a slow beginning, but every competitor made it through… even though the last few “Locate From Hell” competitors used car headlights to make it through their final event of the night!

This year’s networking event was a little different than what we’ve had in the past. Appetizers, a bourbon vendor, a brewery and an ice cream vendor coupled with a Corn Hole Tournament set the mood for the night. This was a welcome relief after a day in the rain and last minute turn of events.

Our good friends at UTTO brought out their simulator as a bonus event so Saturday consisted of getting all interested competitors through the virtual reality round. UTTO created a scenario and competitors were timed and scored based on precision and speed. Lunch was served and Nulca graciously gained everyone access to the Alamo Draft House next door to the hotel for some movie watching before the awards banquet that night.

The awards banquet provided a fun ending to a crazy event. There were both new winners and repeat winners. The emotions in the room were definitely something to remember. Witnessing the excitement, nervousness and happiness was rewarding for everyone in attendance that night. That alone makes the event worth it… even if “Mother Nature” throws a monkey wrench into the plans!

Texas811 is grateful for each and every person who helped make this year’s International Locate Rodeo a success. The event isn’t possible without everyone’s support.

Introducing the Third Annual 811 Video Challenge!

Get your director’s chair ready! The 811 Video Challenge is back for the third consecutive year with a new twist.

This year, we’re asking CGA members to submit either a newly created or existing short video (around 60 seconds in length). Entries may either be public service announcements or social media videos.

Submitted videos must feature references to 811, but may also focus on other core CGA programs (Best Practices, DIRT Report, Technology Report, etc.).

Start your planning now to be ready to submit before this contest entry period ends. This year’s challenge opened in September and will remain open until Friday, Dec. 21.

Bragging rights within the industry are on the line. A CGA task team will show select videos and announce the award winners at the CGA Annual Meeting during the CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida, in March 2019.

Full information, including official rules and music licensing requirements, may be found at

As a reminder, an organization must be a CGA member to be eligible for the 811 Video Challenge. If your organization is not a member, go to to learn more on how to become a member.

6th Annual CCGA Damage Prevention Symposium

This past October, over 200 damage prevention professionals gathered in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada at the beautiful Fairmont Whistler Chateau Hotel to participate in the Canadian Common Ground Alliance’s (CCGA) 6th Annual Damage Prevention Symposium. This exquisite venue, nestled in the majestic Rocky Mountains, embraced attendees, fostered networking opportunities and the exchange of ideas from morning until night.

Individual CCGA committees, Regional Partners, Damage Reporting and Evaluation, Best Practices and Education & Marketing, met Monday and Tuesday before the start of the symposium and several exhibitors took advantage of the opportunity to present Vendor Outreach Sessions before the Welcome Reception on Tuesday. These unique sessions provided CrossingsCloud, Overpipe and Rhino Marking & Protection Systems the chance to showcase their products and services to attendees in a classroom environment, offering product demonstrations and engaging in Q & A.

Keynote speaker Karen Ogen-Toews, First Nation LNG Alliance, opened the event Wednesday morning with the address, Working with First Nations: Partnering with Oil & Gas and Excavation Companies. Her address underlined the collective responsible stewardship we have to the land and its people and offered examples of successful First Nations engagement with industry.

After lunch, Hugh Harden Vice President with Trans Mountain Corporation, discussed Safety and Relationships: Steadfast in Our Commitment through Turbulent Times. The Corporation has remained steadfastly committed to its safety objectives and broadened its engagement with the public – particularly via social media networks – despite being at the centre of many ongoing local and national debates in recent years. Hugh’s comments served a poignant reminder to attendees that despite challenges that will undoubtedly materialize, commitment to goals and objectives cannot waiver, but that we also need to remain aware of the changing landscape and nimble to modify process and practice. Trans Mountain Corporation operates Canada’s only pipeline system transporting oil products to the West Coast. The Company delivers nearly 300,000 barrels of crude oil and refined products each day through 1,274 kilometres of pipeline in Alberta, British Columbia and Washington State.

With almost 20 different topics covered, attendees were offered a diverse selection of informative presentations. Some of the highly-rated and interesting topics covered:

• One Call Centre Software Rollout in Western Canada showcased how four One Call Centres came together to agree on one common set of rules and to discuss the new software rollout for these centres.

• During Cyber Security: Are People Really the Biggest Risk? Security expert Eugene Ng showed the audience in real time how easily a breach can happen.

• A panel of experts in the Fit for Duty: Impairment in the Workplace session discussed policies, case studies and court cases related to impairment in the workplace and what the future will be with new regulations.

• In Effective Use of Digital Media During a Crisis, Nicole Forest with TransCanada discussed the methods the company’s communications team used to manage public relations during a crisis.

Wednesday closed with an exhibitor reception where families were welcomed on the expo floor to trick or treat and prizes provided by the exhibitors were drawn and awarded to delegates.

Thursday morning included an address by the CCGA, where they announced the release of the new CCGA DIRT Report and Best Practices Volume 3.0. Copies of both documents are available on the CCGA’s website Shannon Neufeld of the NEB then discussed regulation updates.

After lunch on Thursday, a drawing sponsored by PelicanCorp and Infrastructure Resources was held. Michelle Petrusevich, FortisBC, was the winner of a full trip to the CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida, in March 2019. Congratulations Michelle! Following the grand prize drawing, the CCGA and BC One Call Corporation recognized Mr. Chris Hyland who recently retired following a 38-year career with FortisBC. Chris has been a formidable presence and driving force of FortisBC’s damage prevention program and in British Columbia’s damage prevention community for decades. Chris helped establish and grow BC One Call and remains on the BC One Call Board of Directors.

Following the recognition award to Chris, Mr. Ian Turnbull with FortisBC presented their safety awards to companies with a record number of locate requests into BC One Call without any line damages over the past three years. This year’s recipients were RS Line Construction Inc. and Rokstad Power – two construction businesses based in the Lower Mainland. The CCGA congratulates RS Line Construction Inc. and Rokstad Power and recognizes their commitment to public, worker and community safety.

Closing the event was keynote speaker, Steve Duncan, an urban historian and photographer who has explored sewer and underground infrastructure all over the world. Steve peeled back the streets and sidewalks, giving delegates a seldom-seen look at how cities work underground.

Thanks to Ms. Sabin Just with the Independent Contractors & Businesses Association of British Columbia, a member of the BC Common Ground Alliance, Symposium attendees received one credit towards their Gold Seal Certification through the Canadian Construction Association.

The CCGA announced next year’s symposium will be held in the Greater Toronto Area and we are already at work developing details for the event and welcome potential speakers, sponsors and exhibitors to reach out at

Oceania Damage Prevention Conference


THE INAUGURAL OCEANIA Damage Prevention Conference, held on the Gold Coast in August 2018, brought together representatives from all sectors within the utility industry and provided an opportunity damage prevention professionals in the Oceania region have been anticipating for years – an event dedicated to showcasing damage prevention efforts, best practices and public awareness initiatives across Australia and New Zealand. With unilateral support from both the state and national sectors, Platinum Sponsor Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) was instrumental in the development of this breakthrough event, which was the first time all stakeholder groups have gathered together to discuss how to improve damage prevention efforts. With 8% of attendance comprised of international delegates, and professionals representing One Call operators, locators, contractors, asset owners, engineers, and others, delegates had a unique opportunity to learn perspectives not only across industry, but across nations.

Educational opportunities

Daily plenary sessions provided a strong start to each day, offering an opportunity for senior industry leaders to present, discuss and explore trends and future opportunities impacting the utilities sector.

Tuesday’s plenary, C-Suite Panel, Taking National Damage Prevention into the Future, was moderated by Suzanne Jones, AADBYDS Chairman, and provided an opportunity for C-Level executives from key national utilities to discuss the future of “National Damage Prevention” and offer their vision of the future. Panelists included Keven Allan, Telstra; Jim Carlson-Jones, SA Water; and Ross Larsen, APA Group.

On Wednesday’s National Infrastructure Damage & Injury Prevention Summit, leaders of key stakeholder associations across Australia discussed trends and issues for their sector along with initiatives that could be implemented to reduce damages and improve worker and public safety in Australia. The panel focused on ways to identify future improvements that can be achieved through collaboration. Moderated by Stuart Burdack, Dial Before You Dig, panelists included Steve Davies, Australian Pipelines & Gas Association; James Goode, Water Services Association of Australia; Peter Lamont, National Electrical & Communications Association; and Darren Mills, NBN Co.

Mix of industry‐related content

The first-ever Global Locate Summit, moderated by Innes Fisher, Utility Location Services, drew together a panel of industry experts, including Elle Archer, Accurate Instruments (NZ) Ltd; Justin Bell, Sub Surface Detection & Leak Detection NZ; Tony Festa, 1300 Locate Brisbane; Hennie Le Roux, Subscan (Pty) Ltd; Ron Peterson, Nulca (U.S.); Robert Row, DBYD Certification; and Mike Sullivan, Canadian Common Ground Alliance. These industry experts discussed their ideas for attracting and retaining the right people in the industry and how to offer school leavers and graduates career paths within utility location and the broader damage prevention industry.

On Thursday, an international panel including Richard Broome, LinesearchbeforeUdig; Andrew Healy, PelicanCorp; Khrysanne Kerr, Common Ground Alliance; Dominic Puiu, Dial Before You Dig NSW/ACT Inc.; and Mike Sullivan, Canadian CGA, gathered to talk about the positive and negative aspects of legislation in their respective countries. The panel provided oversight on when their legislation started, the basics of what it does, and how they believe it has assisted in reducing damage. This plenary, Critical Learnings of Damage Prevention Legislation from Around the World, was moderated by Scott Landes, Rhino Marking & Protection Systems/ Infrastructure Resources.

Each day, plenaries were followed by a diverse stream of presentations responding to the themes of Damage Prevention, Utility Location, and a Dial Before You Dig stream developed by Platinum Sponsor DBYD, focusing on the many initiatives and concerns of DBYD at both the state and national levels. With topics that ranged from Tracking Damages to Using GPR to Improve Locates to Abandoned Facilities, there were educational opportunities available for everyone. Delegates benefitted from more than 30 hours of educational content, with 92.9% of surveyed respondents rating the content as “Excellent” or “Very Good” and more than three of every four stating what they learned will help them implement change at work.

A common theme promoted across the conference was working collaboratively to identify best practice and sharing sector learnings. “This is a challenge that Dial Before You Dig will embrace,” said Stuart Burdack, AADYBDS CEO. “We have established good working relationships with industry peak bodies and several research bodies and look forward to facilitating a range of cross-sector projects over the next couple of years to report back to the 2020 Damage Prevention Conference.”

Wednesday evening everyone took a break to relax and network at the Star Hotel. Tom Scott, Hunter Water Corporation, was the lucky recipient of a trip for two to Tampa, Florida in March 2019 to attend the largest international industry event, CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo, courtesy of Oceania Damage Prevention Conference founding sponsors Infrastructure Resources and PelicanCorp!

“I attended for an open-minded look to see how other people prevent damage around the world. I am leaving with new ideas and enjoyed the conference!” – L POLLITT, ELECTRIX NZ GAS

“The #1 benefit I saw was the opportunity to network and the quality of conversations across the industry – in many cases for the first time.” – PAUL BERNAYS, TELSTRA

With a good representation of industry trades and vendors at the conference, Burdack expressed his delight in the willingness and desire of delegates to share information, to learn, and to assist one another. This conference was the launching pad for DBYD and other industry leaders to develop a range of new initiatives and a stated desire to work more closely as a sector, both nationally and internationally. “The challenge for all of us now,” said Burdack, “is to make sure that we follow up on the many ideas and leads generated through the conference and put these ideas and opportunities into practice. This is something that Dial Before You Dig is committed to doing.”

Return on investment

Without a doubt, the 2018 Oceania Damage Prevention Conference was an unmitigated success. The quality of presentations and cross-sector participation and contributions from the broad range of stakeholders in the utility construction, operations and maintenance industry was unique. 95.5% of surveyed delegates rated their overall satisfaction to be above average and 95.5% of them said they plan to attend future Oceania Damage Prevention Conferences.

They will get their chance to do just that when the Oceania Damage Prevention Conference returns in 2020 in Sydney, sure to be even bigger and better than the inaugural event this year.

To learn more about what happened at the 2018 Conference, or to be among the first to know what’s happening in 2020, go to and click on “Event Updates” in the upper right corner.

Revamped Common Ground Alliance DIRT Report Estimates Damage to Buried Utilities Has Increased on Pace with Excavation Activity between 2015 and 2017


Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the stakeholder-driven organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, announced its findings and analysis of utility damage and near-miss events in the 2017 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report in September.

The report, which analyzes all 2017 data submitted anonymously and voluntarily by facility operators, utility locating companies, One Call centers, contractors, regulators and others, used a refined statistical modeling process to estimate that 439,000 excavation-related damages to underground facilities occurred in 2017, up 5.5 percent from a revised 2016 estimate.

CGA, in collaboration with its statistical analysis consultant, Green Analytics, applied a new approach to estimating total U.S. damages for 2017, as well as the previous two years. It found that while estimated damages increased year-over-year from 2015 to 2016 and again from 2016 to 2017, when excavation activity is considered, damages have effectively plateaued during this three-year span, as measured by ratios of damages to construction spending and damages to utility locate notifications from One Call centers to their member facility operators.

The 2017 DIRT Report includes an analysis of when damages occur, by month and day of the week, for the first time, leading to several findings that can help damage prevention stakeholders best target their public awareness messages. Specifically, the report found the following:

• Damages that occurred on a weekend were nearly twice as likely to have involved hand tools (shovels, post-hole diggers, etc.) than those that occurred on a weekday.

• 50 percent of all reported damages occurred between June and September in 2017.

• August was the month with the most total damages in 2017.

Among all damage reports with an identified and known root cause, the majority (52.2 percent) occurred because of insufficient excavation practices, continuing a trend from recent years where this was the top identified root cause in the DIRT Report. Other identified root causes were as follows:

• Notification not made – 23.5%

• Locating practices not sufficient – 16.8%

• Miscellaneous – 6.5%

• Notification practices not sufficient – 1.0%

“As the leading source of utility damage data and analysis, CGA is constantly evaluating the statistical models we use to ensure we are producing the best possible report to guide our public awareness, education and training efforts in the damage prevention industry,” said Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, president and CEO of CGA. “The latest DIRT Report shows that our collective challenge to reduce utility damage is increasing as excavation activity increases. CGA stands ready to support all damage prevention stakeholders in addressing this challenge through public awareness campaigns, Best Practices, regional partnerships, promotion of new technologies and offering resources to educate state policymakers on the importance of balanced and effective enforcement laws.”

Once again, CGA has made an interactive DIRT Dashboard accessible to the public through its website, allowing users to view and query the data through the lens of a specific element, e.g., damages by state, root cause analysis, etc. This dashboard features a series of visualizations that allow users to sort information through additional filters, giving damage prevention stakeholders a powerful tool for identifying areas where they can have the biggest positive impact.

“CGA’s Data Reporting and Evaluation Committee took on a significant challenge during the past year as we re-evaluated the way we analyze and report on submitted data,” said Bruce Campbell, Data Committee cochair from MISS DIG 811, the one call center for Michigan. “DIRT data is one of the best tools available for any damage prevention stakeholder who seeks a better understanding of why damages occur.”

The complete DIRT Annual Report for 2017 is available for download at, and stakeholders interested in submitting data to the 2018 report or establishing a Virtual Private Dirt account should visit the DIRT site at

Miss Utility’s Touch-A-Truck Day

ON AUG. 25, hundreds of children and adults attended the 2018 Miss Utility of Maryland and Washington, D.C. Touch-a-Truck Day at the Bowie Baysox Stadium. The event was part of Miss Utility’s celebration of 8/11 Day, reminding residents to call 811 before beginning any digging projects to have their underground utilities marked.

Pulling in record numbers of attendees, the fourth annual Touch-a-Truck Day offered guests the opportunity to explore construction vehicles that they often see working in their communities. As one of its largest damage prevention events of the year, Miss Utility’s Touch-a-Truck Day is a platform to educate attendees on safe digging and how local construction companies work with Miss Utility to keep their communities safe.

Along with exploring the more than 40 vehicles from local utility and construction companies, attendees enjoyed construction and safety related activities, including a pipe fusing station where visitors could create their own hula hoops, a sandbox filled with construction toys and shovels, corn hole, a “Find the Line” locating station and a CPR training station hosted by the local fire and rescue squad. Miss Utility also organized music, kids’ giveaways that included hats and Touch- A-Truck t-shirts, a face painting station, and concession stand. As an added feature, the 811 Car was also on display.

The event took place prior to a minor league baseball game at the Bowie Baysox stadium in Bowie, Maryland that featured a gate giveaway of bobbleheads, a first pitch thrown by a Miss Utility representative and fireworks to close out the night. More than 7,600 people attended the baseball game and were treated to Miss Utility-sponsored PA announcements, in addition to a Miss Utility giveaway table with t-shirts, pens, pins and other 811 branded items. In the months leading up to Touch-a-Truck Day, promotions advertising the Miss Utility event, including billboards, radio ads and sponsorships, lead to nearly two million impressions.

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