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What is the Common
Ground Alliance (CGA)?
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is a member-
driven association dedicated to the reduction of Accomplishments
damages to the underground infrastructure. In recent Since the CGA’s inception, the association has marked
years, the association has established itself as the the following milestones:
leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to • Entered into a cooperative agreement with the
all underground facilities in North America through Research & Special Program Administration’s Office
shared responsibility among all stakeholders. of Pipeline Safety (OPS)
In promoting a spirit of shared responsibility, the • Initiated CGA Regional Partner Program which has
CGA welcomes all stakeholders who would like to be grown to over 20 Regional Partners
a part of the identification and promotion of best • Recognized in the Pipeline Safety Improvement
practices that lead to a reduction in damage. Any Act of 2002
“best practices” endorsed by the CGA come with • Assisted the Office of Pipeline Safety with
consensus support from experts representing the successfully responding to several National
following stakeholder groups: Excavator, Locator, Road Transportation Safety Board Recommendations
Builders, Electric, Telecommunications, Oil, Gas, • Finalized the development of the CGA Damage
Railroad, Water, One-Call, Public Works, Equipment Information Reporting Tool (DIRT)
Manufacturing, Fencing Contractors, State Regulators, www.cga-dirt.com
Insurance and Engineering/Design. • Published Best Practices field manual and CD.
Our Background To Learn More
Officially formed in 2000, the CGA represents a • To join or learn more about the CGA, please visit our
continuation of the damage prevention efforts embodied web site at www.commongroundalliance.com
by the Common Ground Study. Sponsored by the U.S.
Department of Transportation and completed in 1999,
this study represented the collaborative work of 160
industry professionals who identified best practices
relating to damage prevention.
The CGA provides today’s optimal forum where
stakeholders can share information and perspectives
and work together on all aspects of damage prevention
issues. This allows the achievement of results that
would otherwise be impossible. The CGA and the nearly
1,200 members are working with industry stakeholders
and regulators to produce stronger, more effective
results through partnership, collaboration, and the
pursuit of common goals in damage prevention.
In addition to its Board of Directors, the CGA is
comprised of 6 working committees:
• Best Practices
• Research & Development
• Data Reporting & Evaluation
• Educational Programs
• Marketing, Membership & Communications
• One-Call Systems International
Each committee’s work supports the CGA mission in a
unique, yet critical manner. Committee members are
generally employees of a stakeholder organization.
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The CGA is a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
— Please indicate the type of CGA Membership registration. Annual fees are noted below.
Corporate/Company, Association, and Government/Municipality registrants will be contacted for
additional information about their individual members. Sponsorship also provides for a number of
individual members appropriate to the type of organization, and Sponsorship registrants will be
contacted for additional information.
[ ] Corporate/Company ($2,000; 8 individual members)
[ ] Association ($3,000; 12 individual members)
[ ] Government/Municipality ($1,000; 4 individual members)
Sponsorship*: [ ] Bronze [ ] Silver [ ] Gold [ ] Platinum
Minimum: ($10,000) ($25,000) ($50,000) ($100,000)
* Enter the Actual Sponsorship Amount if different from the minimums noted:
[ ] Individual ($100)
— Please indicate the stakeholder category/industry that you represent (choose only one):
[ ] Electric [ ] Engineer/Design [ ] Excavator [ ] Gas [ ] Oil
[ ] One-Call [ ] Public Works [ ] Road Builders [ ] Locator
[ ] Insurance [ ] Private Water [ ] Railroad [ ] State Regulator
[ ] Telecommunications [ ] Equipment Manufacturer
— Please provide the following information:
Individual member or person to contact for non-individual memberships:
Last name: ____________________________________ First name: __________________________________
Position/job title: ____________________________________________________________________________
Company/employer name: ____________________________________________________________________
City: __________________________________________State: ___________________Zip:_________________
Country (if not USA):______________________________
Phone #: __________________________ Fax #: ___________________________ Email:_________________
Please send this form along with your check to: Common Ground Alliance, 1421 Prince Street,
Suite 410, Alexandria, VA 22314.
(Do not send cash or money orders).
For more information on CGA Membership or Sponsorship contact:
• Bob Kipp, phone: 703-836-1709 (Email: email@example.com); or
• Erika Andreasen, phone: 703-836-1709 (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org); or
• Visit our Web site at http://www.commongroundalliance.com.
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Common Ground Alliance
See Enclosed CD for CGA Best Practices
The purpose of the Common Ground Study, appropriate for each stakeholder group, gauge current
completed in 1999, was to identify and validate levels of implementation and use of those Best
existing best practices performed in connection with Practices, and encourage and promote increased
preventing damage to underground facilities. The implementation of the Best Practices.
collected best practices are intended to be shared
among stakeholders involved with and dependent In 2003, the CGA published Best Practices Version
upon the safe and reliable operation, maintenance, 1.0. This version of the practices contains the
construction, and protection of underground facilities. practices statements and supporting descriptions
The best practices contain validated experiences contained in the study as well as any new practices
gained that can be passed by
further examined the Best
and evaluated Practices
for possible Committee
consideration and since the
incorporation into completion
state and private of the Study
stakeholder in 1999.
underground facility Enclosed is a
damage prevention CD of Best
programs. Practices Version
The Best Practices in December
are divided into 2004.
eight chapters that
provide a collection
of current damage New Practices
prevention best and Practice
practices. The eight Modifications:
chapters include: Neither the
• Planning & Department of
Design Best Transportation
Practices (DOT) nor the
• One Call Center
Best Practices the best
• Location & practices
Marking Best described in
Practices 1999 would
• Excavation Best constitute a
Practices static model.
• Mapping Best For a copy of this CD, contact the CGA office at 703-836-1709. Rather, both
• Compliance Best Practices that the best
• Public Education Best Practices practices would evolve over time as more was learned
• Reporting & Evaluation Best Practices and as technology advanced. Moreover, the CGA and
the DOT expected that there likely would be additional
In 2000, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) was best practices developed by the interested participants.
formed to further the work completed during the Study. To propose a new practice or practice modification,
The CGA then developed the Best Practices Committee; contact the CGA office (703-836-1709) to request
the primary purpose of this committee is to continue to a proposal form or visit the CGA office at
focus on identifying those Best Practices that are www.commongroundalliance.com.
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CGA Regional Partner Program
In addition to serving as a forum for stakeholders prevention group the ability to influence other stakehold-
at the national level, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) ers in areas of continual improvement and damage
avoidance, and it will strengthen the group’s ability to
provides an effective local forum to discuss best
affect change at both state and national levels.
practices in damage prevention. In the spirit of shared
responsibility, the CGA works collectively and cooperative- Getting Involved with an Existing Regional CGA
ly with local damage prevention organizations in The CGA now has regional partners in 22 states and
communities throughout North America. provinces throughout the United States and Canada.If you
The CGA recognizes that existing regional damage are interested in becoming involved in one of the existing
prevention groups have invaluable knowledge and regional programs, please contact the CGA office at 703-
836-1709 for additional information or visit the CGA
experience, and these groups continue to make great
web site at w w w.commongroundalliance.com.
strides in preventing excavation damage to America’s
infrastructure. The CGA also recognizes that some areas Becoming a Partner -
of the country currently have no regional damage Partnership Requirements & Application Process
prevention programs. Through the CGA Regional Partner Requirements – The CGA only has two requirements for
Program, the CGA partners with existing local, regional, becoming a regional partner.
and state damage prevention programs that have an - One of the regional partner’s primary objectives
objective of promoting communication among all should be to promote communication about damage
stakeholders about damage prevention Best Practices. prevention Best Practices.
The CGA also encourages the development of these - Regional partners must agree not to exclude any
programs in other areas where they do not currently exist. stakeholder group from their discussions.
Application – To become a regional partner, you must
Getting Involved at the Local Level submit a petition to the Common Ground Alliance.
Regional Partner Program Milestones To request application information and petition forms,
• Oklahoma Common Ground and Missouri Common contact the CGA office at 703-836-1709 or visit
Ground are approved as the first CGA Regional www.commongroundalliance.com.
Partners – July 2002
• Program grows to 7 regional partners by 2002
Annual Meeting – December 2002
• Representatives from 14 programs attend the
First Annual Regional Partner meeting held in
Tampa, Florida – December 2003
• Partnership program grows to 22 partners
representing 19 states in the United States
and 3 provinces in Canada – October 2004
Benefits of Partnership
• Promotes the adoption of the CGA Best Practices
within local communities as well as on a
• Strengthens the communication between national,
regional, state, and local levels of damage prevention
• Encourages promotion of damage prevention among
stakeholders in local areas, and provides the
opportunity to attend programs, conferences,
and meetings locally.
• Provides national support and visibility to
stakeholders joining in local discussions. This will
strengthen existing groups by helping to recruit
stakeholders who may not currently participate in
local damage prevention discussions.
• Promotes more widely accepted practices, procedures,
methods, and tools. This gives a regional damage
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CGA Damage Information
Reporting Tool (DIRT)
1) How many damages occur to underground
facilities each year? What is DIRT? DIRT is a secure web application for
2) What are the primary causes of these damages? the collection and reporting of underground damage
information that allows users to enter data records
3) Are some educational campaigns more effective individually or in bulk, pertaining to underground damage
than others in conveying the call-before-you-dig incident(s). The DIRT system allows users to submit
message? damage reports, browse files submitted by the user’s
4) Are damages increasing or decreasing each year? organization, administer role-based company and user
information, edit personal profiles; change/retrieve
These are some of the many difficult questions that password, and submit feedback and questions.
remain unanswered due to the lack of damage data on a
national level. Being able to answer these questions Who can submit data? The CGA encourages all stake
remains a necessary step in ensuring the safety and holders to submit data to DIRT. Each submitter must
protection of people and the infrastructure. follow the system’s registration and verification process
prior to submitting data.
Since the Common Ground Study, CGA’s stakeholders
have focused on developing a method for North American Is the data secure? Since the system is designed to be
data collection. The first best practice in the Reporting & unbiased, at no point will users from one company be
Evaluation chapter of the CGA Best Practices states, able to see data from another. In addition, the system is
“Facility owners/operators, locators, excavators, or designed to prevent unauthorized access of any kind.
stakeholders with an interest in underground damage Lastly, all data is housed in a secure location with a
prevention report qualified information on incidents that comprehensive backup and recovery plan in place, so
you don’t have to worry about losing your data.
could have, or did, lead to a damaged underground
facility.” With this practice in mind, the CGA, working Submitting Data – Getting Started
with the Utility Notification Center of Colorado, developed To access the system and begin the registration process,
the Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) and visit www.damagereporting.org. The home page will lead
launched the system in November 2003. DIRT is a North you to the initial registration process and also provide you
American secure web application for the collection and with links to documents such as the system’s User’s Guide
reporting of underground damage data. and White Paper.
Purpose of Data Collection To Learn More
The primary purpose in collecting underground facility • For additional information on the system or to discuss
damage data is to analyze data, to learn why damages system requirements, contact the CGA office at
occur, and how actions by industry can prevent them in 703-836-1709
the future, thereby ensuring the safety and protection of • To join or learn more about the CGA, please visit our
people and the infrastructure. Data collection will allow web site at www.commongroundalliance.com
the CGA to identify root causes of damages, perform trend
analysis, and help educate all stakeholders so that
damages can be reduced through effective practices
The CGA's purpose is to reduce underground facility
damage, which threatens the public's safety and costs
billions of dollars each year. In order to better understand
where, how and why these damages are occurring, we
require accurate and comprehensive data from all
stakeholders. The data will be analyzed and our findings
will be issued via comprehensive reports. The data will not
be used for enforcement purposes or to try and
determine damage liability. The individual identities of
parties involved with damages will be kept confidential.
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