Geoff Zeiss

May 2021

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« Applying quantum effects to detecting underground infrastructure | Main | Standards for underground location quality are rapidly evolving »

February 16, 2021

Comments

Varun Adibhatla

Geoff, your scanning of this space is absolutely remarkable and serves the public interest in a very important manner.

As per the 2019 DIRT report published by the Canadian Common Ground Alliance, British Columbia has a damage rate of 6.45 damages per 1,000 one call tickets.

For perspective this is 4 times higher than the US national average (estimated at 1.99 as per 2019 CGA report)

An incredible 87% of BC's damages are to Gas Assets !!!
(Table 4 of CCGA DIRT 2019)
This is an incredible stat because it represents such a clear opportunity to dramatically improve public service delivery in BC

To have a consolidated map of underground utilities is an amazing resource and kudos to ICI for creating this in the public realm. It does however expose a key gap in damage prevention and to the delivery of public services.

The fact is that Ground Disturbance activities in BC are hardly regulated.

It appears that anyone can go into an equipment rental facility, get a backhoe and disturb underground utilities with any form of required licensing to do so.
This needs to change and the ICI maps can be used as a resource to inform the public.

I'm reminded of an effective TV campaign run by Oklahoma 811 (https://youtu.be/_tClBEfng9E) that focused on the repair cost associated with most underground utility lines. The messaging included a compelling visual that illustrates and emphasized to homeowners about how expensive repairs to underground assets can be.

Since airing the campaign, OK 811 increased homeowner tickets from an average of 6,250/ month to averaging 8,300 homeowner/ tickets a month representing a 33% increase during the peak digging months.

If anyone from BC One Call is reading this, I would recommend reaching out to ICI and running a public awareness campaign (in English and other languages) allowing them to view underground assets in their vicinity and the cost to the public or themselves if they damaged it.


Resting on the laurels of neo-victorian curatorial achievements is simply not enough. More must be done to put these information artifacts to use to protect underground infrastructure and serve the public.

Sincerely,
Varun Adibhatla

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