Report touts success of ‘call before you dig’ message

Washington – Educational outreach efforts about a free service that helps locate and mark underground pipes, lines and cables may have contributed to a decrease in damaged utility lines despite an increase in construction activities, according to the latest Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report from the Common Ground Alliance.

CGA represents members of the underground utility industry and other stakeholders. The 2013 DIRT Report shows that excavators who called 811 before digging reported a damaging event to underground utility lines less than 1 percent of the time. Overall, CGA recorded 335,000 events in 2013.

The top causes for damage events in 2013 included:

  • Excavation practices not sufficient (50 percent)
  • Notification not made (26 percent)
  • Locating practices not sufficient (16 percent)

“For the fourth year in a row, the DIRT Report demonstrates that making the call to 811 before digging is the single most crucial step in preventing damage to underground utility lines,” Bob Kipp, CGA president, said in a press release.

Data for the 2014 report may be submitted at www.cga-dirt.com.