CONNstruction - Winter 2011 - (Page 19)

the dirt on water The Name Says It All CALL Before You DIG helps excavators avoid headaches. By Nick Gustav Bill Petersen has a simple message for excavators in Connecticut: Pick up the phone before you pick up a shovel. It’s not just the law; it’s essential if you want to avoid stiff fines, costly damage to underground utilities and even the potential for severe injuries and lawsuits. Petersen, the center manager for Connecticut’s Call Before You Dig initiative, said the program noted 600 cases of damage to underground utilities because of excavation, demolition and blasting in the state last year. Of those, 73 dealt with water utilities, with roughly three-quarters involving water services to homes or buildings and the rest water mains. Damage to water mains and services are relatively rare because the facilities typically are located four feet or more underground, whereas gas, telephone and electrical lines are closer to the surface, Petersen said. Still, the penalties for digging first and asking questions later are considerable, including civil penalties of up to $40,000 per violation in addition to repair costs for any facility you damage, as well as civil lawsuits for damage to people or property. “It can get quite expensive very quickly,” Petersen said. In more than half of the cases in which water facilities were damaged last year, the water utility was at fault, meaning it had either inaccurately marked or identified its water facilities or perhaps even failed to show up to the excavation site and mark the area. Water services also can be damaged because utility companies are only required to identify those facilities that they own or operate, and most water companies do not own the water services to homes or businesses. Therefore, excavators must use “reasonable care” when working around water services and should consider requesting additional help from the utility company to identify the location of a water facility, Petersen said. Utility companies mark sites using paint, flags or stakes, letting excavators know precisely where there’s the potential to damage infrastructure. And if you choose not to call before you dig, you might be playing with fire, literally. “The program is designed to ensure that no one gets hurt or killed and there are no significant utility outages,” Petersen said. “For the contractor or excavator, it’s really their reputation on the line. In this economy, work is very hard to come by, and before utility companies put an excavator on their contractor lists, they check out the excavator’s track record to find out if they have a reputation for doing the job correctly and safely.” ©DIGITAL VISION/THINKSTOCK CONNstruction / Winter 2011 / 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Winter 2011

Is Water Affordable?
Water Infrastructure Projects Will Help Return the Construction Industry to Prosperity
FASB Backs Off, Requiring More Rigorous Withdrawal Liability Disclosures
The Potential of Public-Private Partnerships in Water and Wastewater Projects
Working Together
Pour It On
The Name Says It All
Momentum Achieved on MDC Clean Water Project
2011 AGC of CT Industry Recognition Awards & Dinner
CCPC Annual Picnic
YCF September Meeting
The Diggers Mixers Fixers Annual Golf Outing
CEUCA Fall Luncheon

CONNstruction - Winter 2011