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									                          CTxDPC Meeting Minutes

Date:      August 20, 2009

Place:     AGC of Texas – 300 Barton Springs Road, Austin, 78704

Time:     10:00am - Noon

The meeting was brought to order at 10:05 AM by Doug Meeks of DIG-TESS.

Old Business
Design Locate Requests
   Texas811 held the 1st of many meetings with the primary stakeholders in
     Dallas on August 12th.
        o Engineering firms, utility operators, contract locators, One Call, &
            TxDOT participated in the meeting to determine issues involved
            and laid the groundwork for future meetings.
        o Texas811 gave a presentation to the Austin Contractors &
            Engineers Association (ACEA) on August 13.

Enforcement of Chapter 251 and Chapter 18
    The Contractor Representative on the One Call Board of Texas (OCB)
      described an initiative by a Public Member of the OCB working to
      coordinate County Attorney office to prosecute violations of Chapter 251.
    The South Texas Damage Prevention Council is working to have a County
      Sheriff in their territory to issue citations for failing to request utility locates.
    The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) is not currently citing
      Excavators for failing to call for locates if damage has not occurred.
         o It was noted that issuing citations and penalties on “No Damage
             Non Compliance” reports is a fundamental proactive component of
             preventing damages.
         o Council members were encouraged to continue filing No Damage
             Non Compliance reports on Excavators working near gas facilities
             without locates.
         o RRC representative stated that processing No Damage Non
             Compliance reports is an issue that they are working on.

One Call – Improving Non Mandatory Participation
   Discussion on best way to encourage water utility operators to voluntarily
     participate in One Call.
         o Questions regarding cost of One Call participation.
         o For many small cities & towns, MUDs, and SUDs, the typical cost is
             less than $500 annually depending on call volume. Many mid-sized
             cities annual usage fees are less than $5000 annually.
           o Currently water utility operators account for roughly 20% of
               Texas811’s 850+ members.
      It was noted that when the water operator isn’t notified because they don’t
       participate in One-Call, they are at a higher risk to preventable third party
       damages occurring to their lines. This results in water crews responding to
       the emergency and then possibly damaging other utilities when they begin
       digging.
      Water Conservation Plans were discussed. 30 TAC Chapter 288 was
       adopted as TCEQ rule and outlines the minimum content requirements for
       municipal water conservation plans. Methods for proactive damage
       prevention efforts are not listed as an example of “Unaccounted-for Water
       Use” or “Continuing Public Education & Information”. Texas811 will initiate
       outreach to TCEQ and Texas Water Development Board to include
       participation in One Call as an example of reducing unaccounted for water
       loss.

Local Damage Trends
   Excavators
        o Failure to locate service lines
        o Inaccurate locates
        o Water lines outside of city limits
        o Dead lines that are not identified (still have to be treated as live until
           proven otherwise)
   Operators
        o Contractors working to convert septic over to collection systems.
        o

Improving DPC Participation
    Outreach efforts increased participation in this meeting. Contractor
     representatives included several large contractor firms as well as
     representation from the ACEA and AGC. These stakeholders brought a
     valuable perspective to the table which are reflected in these meeting
     minutes.
        o ACEA and AGC support damage prevention efforts and the
           CTxDPC. Efforts will be made to encourage their members to
           participate.

New Business
Damage Prevention Councils of Texas
   Texas811 updated council members on actions taken to implement
    statewide coordination of all 12 active DPCs statewide.
        o Coordination of the regional DPCs should result in certain
           deliverables to meet council goals of reducing damages statewide.
        o Discussion of having an annual retreat for officers and key players
           of the 12 DPCs to network and brainstorm.
           o The Texas811 website now lists regional DPC meetings on the
              Events page. http://www.digtess.org/content/events
      The South Texas DPC holds their first meeting on August 27 in New
       Braunfels at GVTC headquarters 36101 FM 3159 at 10 AM. Creation of
       this DPC will offer continuity of damage prevention efforts along the IH35
       corridor from the Webb & Frio county line into the CTxDPC northern
       boundary of the Williamson & Bell county line.

CTxDPC Council Structure & Area Served
   It was noted that the Council had not held officer elections in a number of
     years and did not have written bylaws.
        o Recommendation that we hold elections for Co-Chairpersons and
            Scribe in coming months.
   The Damage Prevention Councils of Texas territory map is modeled after
     the TxDOT district map.
        o The TxDOT Austin District serves Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet,
            Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis, & Williamson
            counties.
        o Including outlying counties in the area served by CTxDPC was
            approved.

Call Center Update
    Texas811 be hosting The 2010 Texas Damage Prevention Summit. The
      summit is designed to:
         *To bring stakeholders together from across the state and different
         industries to share ideas
         *To promote excavation safety and protection of our underground
         infrastructure
         *To share information on industry trends and technologies
         *To take advantage of valuable networking opportunities
         *To interact in expert led training sessions
    Summit will be held in Mesquite on the dates of February 22-24, 2010 at
      the Mesquite Convention Center. The host hotel will be the Hampton Inn
      & Suites which is located at the convention center. You may read more
      about the summit at: http://summit.digtess.com/
    The TESS Annual Meeting & Golf Tournament to be held September 21-
      23, 2009 in Dallas. For more information, you may contact any TESS
      employee or go to the TESS Website: http://www.digtess.org/
    No other call centers were represented at the meeting.

Railroad Commission Chapter 18 Update
    There are approximately 1000 damages to gas & hazardous liquids
      facilities each month in Texas. Reasons include:
          o Not requesting locates.
          o Other utility operators hitting gas while making emergency repairs
               to their own damaged facilities.
     Trouble Locates
         o The gas operator has 48 hours to provide “Positive Response”. If
             difficulties arise in locating the lines they must establish an agreed
             upon time/date when the Excavator can expect locates.
         o Establishing protocols when a gas/hazardous liquids operator has
             difficulty locating a line ahead of an excavation.
     Currently processing damage reports for March, 2009.
     Reminder that Excavators are required to notify One Call Center within 2
      hours following gas line damage. Have been issuing warning letters for
      non-compliance but will result in fines beginning September 1, 2009.

Roundtable Discussion
     Excavator Issues
        o Contractors getting an undeserved “bad rap” when it comes to
           damages, even when they have done everything according to the
           law.
        o Unlocatable utility lines – Are they really “unlocatable” or is the
           utility operator just not making the effort beyond sending a locator
           out with a locating device?
        o All utility operators should be required to share their damage data
           with the DPCs in the interest of determining where the problems lie
           so they can be corrected.
        o There should be a contact list of key utility people available to
           Excavators so that issues can be solved expediously at the field
           level. (Note: The CTxDPC will work to improve the Council contact
           list and make available to interested parties.)

     Construction Materials/Methods To Assist With Locating
      Underground Utilities
        o Discussion about use of tracer wire on previously “unlocatable”
           plastic lines.
                Gas utilities have been installing tracer wire since around
                   1980.
                Water operators are beginning to install tracer wire on their
                   lines, especially on mains but is still not a consistent
                   practice.
        o Why don’t utility operators use “locator balls” to aid in identifying the
           location of their lines?
                Utiliquest passed around a locator ball and explained how
                   they worked.
                Balls are color-coded by facility.
                The balls emit a signal which is picked up by the receiver so
                   lat/long coordinates can be determined.
                Austin Energy and Atmos Energy uses them on parts of their
                   underground distribution systems.
                 Contractors sometimes install them for their own purposes
                  as an aid to finding facilities after they are buried.
               Suggested that we request a vendor demonstration of
                  locator balls.
        o Why don’t utility operators record lat/long data on their facilities
           during the construction phase?
               Issues have traditionally been with vertical location of lines
                  and the inability of the utility operator to identify the depth of
                  the buried facility.


Next meeting:
September 17, 2009 at 10 AM

Location
AGC of Texas – 300 Barton Springs Road, Austin, 78704

								
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