Those that “dig in the dirt” are very familiar with the Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT), which was launched in 2003 by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA). Over the years California has enacted several statutes requiring anyone moving dirt to notify a regional notification center of the area of planned disturbance that may impact a subsurface installation. A subsurface installation operator then takes prompt steps to accurately mark the earthen area to avoid harm to the affected property. Also, the statutes mandate that any damage discovered ator caused to any subsurface installation must be reported. Damage is defined broadly and includes “all breaks, leaks, nicks, dents, gouges, grooves, or other damage to subsurface installation lines, conduits, coatings, or cathodic protection” pursuant to California Government Code section 4216.4(c). See Government Code sections 4216-4216.9 for more information. But, effective January 1, 2014, Government Code section 4216.6 (c) and (d) now calls for the gathering and reporting of statewide information about “facility events” that have been reported using DIRT.

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By: Tamara Boeck and Parissa Ebrahimzadeh