Atlanta Gas Light Launches Program to Reduce Damage To Its Gas Lines
April 4, 2000
ATLANTA, GA - Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGLC) is taking action as Atlanta's rapid growth and the increase in construction activity in the metro-area leads to an increase in the amount of damage to gas lines. In an effort to reduce the number of hits to its lines, AGLC has put in place a team of quality assurance technicians to coordinate and oversee the process of locating underground pipes in the metro-Atlanta area.
"Our goal is to substantially reduce the amount of damage to our system," said Terry McCready, director of utility locating for AGLC. "Maintaining the safety of our system is imperative and this prevention program will help us to reduce third-party damages."
The boom in construction in the metro-Atlanta area has led to an increase in the number of hits to gas lines located underground, as excavators dig to lay new pipes, cables, and mains or upgrade to fiber-optic lines. In 1999 alone the Utilities Protection Center (UPC) experienced a 20 percent increase in the number of requests for the location of underground facilities compared to 1998. The year 2000 will probably show an increase over 1999. The UPC already has seen an increase of 30 percent in the number of locate requests in the first two months of this year.
Under the current "Call Before You Dig" law, excavators are required to call the UPC to ask for the location of all gas pipes and other underground facilities that may be in an area in which they plan to dig. The locating contractor assigned to the area, and working on behalf of AGLC, has 72 hours to mark the area showing where the pipes are located.
In order to ensure the quality of the locate requests being handled, AGLC's quality assurance technicians will do random checks on "locates" done by the contractors and, in some cases, perform certain "locates" themselves. The technicians will also:
- Closely monitor high profile locate requests; e.g. projects involving road improvements, construction in commercial areas and schools.
- Assist the locating contractor with difficult "locates."
- Serve as a liaison between locating contractors, excavators and local AGLC service centers.
All the technicians are veteran employees of the company, have an excellent knowledge of the AGLC system, and have experience in locating underground pipes. They also recently completed an intensive one-week training session on the technical aspects of locating pipes and how the current locating process works.
Each technician is based in one of the AGLC service centers throughout metro-Atlanta to ensure coverage of the entire area. These service center locations include Atlanta, Chamblee, Cumming, Douglasville, Marietta, Clayton County, and Gwinnett County.
Excavators are reminded that Georgia's "Call Before You Dig" law requires them to call the Utilities Protection Center at 1-800-282-7411 (770-623-4344 in Metro-Atlanta) and have all underground facilities located before they dig. Failure to comply with the law places the excavator at risk for fines and the full cost of repairing damages.