[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 102 (Thursday, May 27, 1999)]
[Pages 28866-28867]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-13447]



Research and Special Programs Administration
[Docket No. RSPA-98-4029; Notice 3]

Pipeline Safety: One-Call Systems Study

AGENCY: Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA); Office of 
Pipeline Safety (OPS).

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.


SUMMARY: This notice announces a two-part public symposium RSPA will 
conduct with the National Transportation Safety Board to report the 
progress in various efforts currently underway in damage prevention of 
underground facilities. Last year, RSPA established a study team to 
evaluate existing damage prevention methods to reduce the risk of 
damage to underground facilities, as called for by the Transportation 
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Members of the ``Common 
Ground'' Study Team will discuss this report at this symposium. OPS 
will discuss and take suggestions regarding criteria for awarding 
authorized grants provided in TEA-21 to one call centers. RSPA will 
also provide an update on current damage prevention projects, most 
notably those dealing with public education. The Damage Prevention 
Quality Action Team (DAMQAT), will report on the pilot test, results 
from the ``Call Before You Dig'' public education campaign and the next 
steps that will be necessary to make the campaign a nationwide effort.

DATES: The symposium will be held on Wednesday, June 30, 1999, from 
9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

ADDRESSES: The symposium and ceremony will be held at the Marriott at 
Metro Center, 775 12th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. Reservations 
can be made by calling (202) 737-2200. A block of rooms is being held 
under ``U.S. Department of Transportation/Damage Prevention Public 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eben M. Wyman, (202) 366-0918, or by 
e-mail ([email protected]), regarding the subject matter of this 

Information on Services for Individuals With Disabilities

    For information on facilities or services for individuals with 
disabilities or to request special assistance at the meetings, contact 
Eben Wyman at the address or phone number listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT as soon as possible.


1. Report on Damage Prevention Best Practices

    The morning session of this symposium will focus on the ``Common 
Ground'' Damage Prevention Best Practices Study Team. RSPA's Office of 
Pipeline Safety established this team to identify effective underground 
facility damage prevention practices, consistent with TEA-21. Section 
6105 of TEA-21 authorized DOT to undertake a study of damage prevention 
practices associated with existing one-call notification systems. The 
purpose of the study was to evaluate and identify damage prevention 
practices that are most effective in protecting the public, excavators, 
and the environment and in preventing disruptions to public services 
and damage to underground facilities. RSPA established the Common 
Ground Team to conduct the study. TEA-21 also authorized grant funding 
for Fiscal Years 2000-2001, subject to appropriations. The grants will 
be used as an incentive to improve operational efficiency and 
reliability of one-call systems. Such improvements will bring increased 
protection of all underground facilities and will benefit the general 
public. RSPA will provide comments on planning for the grant program in 
the afternoon session of this symposium, and RSPA and NTSB invite 
comments and suggestions on how these grants should be allocated.
    The Common Ground Study identifies and evaluates existing practices 
related to damage prevention programs that are most effective in 
protecting the public, excavators, and the environment and in 
preventing disruptions and damage to public services and underground 
facilities. Study Team participants represent a broad range of 
utilities and distribution systems, highway departments, railroads, 
excavators, municipal governments, trade associations and academia. 
This report represents an unprecedented multi-industry, multi-
disciplinary collaboration working toward the goal of improving the 
protection of all underground facilities.
    The team will suggest many paths forward to continuous improvement 
and emphasize the need for data collection and evaluation in order to 
measure improvements. The team will discuss the criticality of 
communication among all the parties to construction around underground 
facilities and the need for collective responsibility for successful 
excavation: careful planning and design, appropriate and timely one-
call center actions, accurate locating and marking, as well as careful 
digging of the soil. The report focuses on how to challenge the full 
spectrum of participants in the damage prevention process.

2. Presentation of National Public Education Campaign

    The afternoon portion of the symposium will address other damage 
prevention initiatives, especially public education programs. RSPA 
established the joint government/industry Damage Prevention Quality 
Action Team (DAMQAT), in October 1996. DAMQAT's mission is to increase 
awareness of the need to protect underground facilities and to promote 
safe digging practices. DAMQAT is composed of representatives from 
federal and state government agencies, gas and hazardous liquid 
pipeline trade associations, a contractor, a one-call systems 
association, and the insurance and telecommunications industries. The

[[Page 28867]]

team launched a successful nationwide damage prevention public 
education campaign in Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee that ran from 
May through October 1998. By use of radio public service announcements, 
trade press ads, bill inserts, public relations events, promotional 
materials, and a training video, the campaign promoted education and 
increased communication among all parties involved at a construction 
site. DAMQAT's efforts increased stakeholder knowledge on underground 
damage prevention, including use of one-call systems, and effective 
ways to locate underground facilities at excavation sites. RSPA and 
members of DAMQAT will provide information regarding their current 
activities at the symposium.

3. Other Damage Prevention Initiatives

    Aside from discussion of the grant provision contained in TEA-21, 
other damage prevention and public education topics will be discussed. 
These include other examples of what damage prevention programs might 
look like. Examples are promotion of a nationwide toll-free number and 
a decal program for excavation equipment. The nationwide toll-free 
number is sponsored by One Call Systems International to facilitate 
routing of phone calls when excavators do not have the center number or 
there are multiple state one call centers. Peter King, Executive 
Director of the American Public Works Association, will speak on the 
pilot testing of a decal program, which promotes the placement of 
pictograph decals, which include the toll free number, for new and 
``after market'' equipment. These decals serve as the last line of 
defense against facility damage. At the symposium, RSPA and NTSB will 
solicit an open discussion of the best way to implement these 

4. Recognition of Volunteers

    RSPA and NTSB recognize the contributions of over 170 volunteers 
who developed the report on best practices in damage prevention and who 
served on the DAMQAT. A wide variety of interests and organizations 
participated in these efforts, including six associations representing 
underground facility owners and operators, three associations 
representing contractors, two associations representing public 
utilities and one call centers, two federal agencies within DOT, two 
associations representing state pipeline and utility regulatory 
agencies, an association of railroads, an association of contract 
locators, and nine different state DOTs.
    RSPA and NTSB encourages the public to attend and participate in 
this public symposium.

    Issued in Washington, DC on May 21, 1999.
Richard B. Felder,
Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety.
[FR Doc. 99-13447 Filed 5-26-99; 8:45 am]