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Colorado’s Underground Damage Prevention stakeholders maintain a very strong record for public safety and damage prevention, with no deaths for over 5-years and 2 injuries in 2014. Despite the many efforts that underlie this strong record, reported underground facility damages have recently begun trending upward, with a 24% increase in gas distribution pipeline damages from 2013 to 2014.
In December of 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) determined that Colorado does not have a state enforcement authority and therefore fails to meet Federal criteria for enforcement. Colorado stakeholders are now subject to Federal regulatory penalties if they should damage a pipeline under PHMSA’s jurisdiction. These fines are significant; $200,000 per day and a maximum of $2 million per occurrence.
During the first quarter of 2015, key stakeholders made up of excavators, facility owners, regulators and One-Call, met to discuss key issues related to the current Underground Damage Prevention Law. Subsequently, the stakeholder group came together, formed the Colorado Legislative Task Force (CLTF) and chartered this study. This data-driven research and analysis highlight Colorado’s current efforts as they relate to other States’ damage prevention enforcement and compliance practices which protect public safety and reduce damages.
This study reviews five key aspects of Colorado’s current Underground Damage Prevention Law and evaluates the impact on Public Safety (deaths, injuries and cost of damages) as measured by the industry-accepted Damages per Thousand Notification Requests (DpK), relative to 15 other states, referred to as the Study States. Over 900 Stakeholder opinions and ideas about the study topics are also presented. The five study topics include:
- Compare Colorado’s Public Safety and Facility Damages per Thousand Notification Requests to other states that have an enforcement authority defined within their Underground Damage Prevention Law
- Examine whether other states, with an enforcement authority, hold Facility Owners accountable for: a.Failing to provide a locate in the required time frameb.Failing to provide general locate information for Architects and Engineers during the design phase of a project
- Examine whether other states, with an enforcement authority, hold excavators accountable when a Notification Request is made and subsequent damage occurs
- Examine whether other states require facility owners and operators to report facility damages to the One Call Center, and whether an enforcement authority holds Facility Owners and Operators accountable for not reporting
- Examine what other states have multi-tiered One Call Membership structures
- a. What is the impact on public safety in those states?
- b. What is the impact on excavators?
- c. What is the potential impact on Colorado’s current Tier Two members if a single Tier membership system is adopted?
Note: Greater detail of the Study’s findings are provided in the Overview and in each Study Topic’s section; to jump to these Study Topics, click on the topic heading.