Page 14 - Mississippi 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 2
P. 14

Get There
Istarted in construction in the mid- 1970s. One of my first duties was initiating the one call notification for proposed excavations. Prior to that, I had never realized how much was buried underground, but even then, I understood the importance of the notification. Our descriptions were often, especially by today’s standards, basic. Our results, while not perfect, were sufficient. I doubt that what we tried to do back then would provide the necessary results today.
At the same time, I was also responsible for payroll entry. Back then, we accumulated payroll data into batches, entered the information into the database, ran cumulative reports, proofed them and then, when, and
only when complete, passed the data along to the next phase which was the check calculation and printing and job costing. Paying our employees promptly and providing accurate job costing was the goal, and so providing the data to the next person in a timely and accurate fashion was vital. When that failed
to happen or when the other person’s processing of the data was interrupted, the goal was jeopardized. Regardless of how well I had accomplished my tasks, the results depended upon someone else.
As I witness the technological and
industrial evolution over the past forty
plus years, a lot has changed and yet
so much remains the same. There are several “links in the chain”, much like in my role in the payroll performance, that contribute to an accurate locate.
First, excavators must effectively communicate the intended area for excavation. Whether it is a clear, concise, and accurate description, or whether it is enhanced by white flags or paint, this step establishes the tempo for the process. It is, in essence, their mapping for the planned excavation. And if providing a more detailed and specific location request speeds the process, it is good for the industry. Sitting on the Ohio Underground Technical Committee, I have witnessed that this has been a problem. It is especially so if the size of the locate request is overwhelming or simply poorly described.
Second, the mapping information in the one call needs to be accurate and the information they receive needs to properly match up with the request. While it has been several years since
I have witnessed the mapping effort firsthand, the accuracy of street information and addresses is amazing.
Third, the mapping provided by the utility owners completes the profile. As the excavator’s directions are overlaid with the information at the
One Call and, relying on the mapping information provided by the various utility owners, a picture begins to emerge. As we all know, effective screening based upon this comparison, can reduce the need for actual locating and marking. With the huge numbers of tickets called in, locators are stressed to meet their legal obligations.
All of these “links in the chain” need
to be strong. If anyone of them fails, the process fails, and the results can be catastrophic. And even with a strong chain, there will still be problems:
. Abandoned lines still in the ground, often in direct conflict with the proposed new installation
. Unidentified lines—many lines
are old, were installed and owned by another company and when “purchased”, accurate mapping was simply not available
. Lines with no apparent ownership and which no one will claim
But, my minimizing other issues, we are set up for success and can address and ultimately conquer these issues as well.
Mr. Igel recently retired as vice president of the George J. Igel & Co., Inc. after working there for more than 35 years.
From Here
By Joe Igel
12 • Mississippi 811 2021, Issue 2

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