- What is the cost of SUE investigation?
As is typical for the industry, the cost depends on the project. Costs include personnel, equipment, etc. The answer to the question depends on the ASCE Utility Quality Level of SUE investigation you are interested in (Levels D through A). Please contact us if you have a specific project scope of which you are curious, and we’d be happy to provide more detail.
- Design tickets take up to 3 weeks.
Not a question, but a good point made by a participant to compare to the 2-day or 3-day response requirement for Dig Tickets in Ohio and Michigan, respectively. For Design Tickets, the response tends to be more loosely treated, as excavations are not being performed. Therefore, response times can vary. We’ve had instances where we did not receive drawings until many months after the request was made; however, I would say this is not the norm and that more often than not we receive drawings within a couple weeks. On occasions, follow-up requests are needed as reminders.
- Do you work with competing surveyors who do not have the same investigative capabilities?
We do have competition, typical of other service industry providers. Without getting into specifics, I would assume each company trains their staff a certain way and also uses certain equipment that may differ from their competitors. We routinely work with (as the Prime or as a subconsultant) several professional survey firms when our markings are surveyed for CADD drawings, GIS, etc.
- How do you get access to the pedestals to hook onto the tracer wire for private utilities? Do we have legal rights to hook up to them?
If a utility is located in the public right-of-way, we have surveying rights that the governing agency allows through their permit process, which we make sure we look into and follow. When inquiring for permits, we describe the type of work we will be undertaking. In regards to private utilities, if access is prohibited, these utilities typically will require a specific tool to open their facilities – such as a specific wrench socket to which only the utility company has access. In this case, we will inform the owner and obtain access permission based on the owner’s protocol.
- How quickly can you respond to an emergency?
We like to consider ourselves very responsive. To provide an example, NTH is currently performing SUE services on two “emergency” projects involving failed subsurface utilities. In both cases, we have responded within 24-hours, including working weekends and holidays. We understand the need to act quickly to reduce safety risks at an emergency site and to reduce the time which facilities are out of service.
- In Pennsylvania it is a requirement for design engineers to contact PA One Call, get a serial number from them, and that number and the date of the One Call request must be shown on the drawings that go out for bids and construction. It is then the Contractor’s responsibility to again contact PA One Call prior to starting and underground installations.
As stated during the presentation, One-call notification is the law and therefore the entity in charge of excavation is required to call regardless of the amount or ASCE Utility Quality Level of SUE already performed. There are multiple reasons for this and some are listed below:
* So that ground markings are present during construction that occurs sometime after SUE services are performed
* Errors can occur based on the ASCE Utility Quality Level performed during SUE
* New utility installations could have been made after SUE and prior to construction
- It would seem that researching the history of a property would also be useful in determining what may exist below-grade, but in actuality, is this ever done?
This is absolutely done. During the presentation we mentioned that record drawings are received during Design Ticket requests. The same occurs prior to performing our SUE work. We obtain record drawings available through the owner of the property (usually readily available as part of the project), as well as through requests to the utility companies. These drawings are evaluated by our SUE personnel.
- Voids around sewers can cause settlement of roadway and plug sewer.
During the presentation it was stated that voids around sewers can be detrimental to the sewer. To expand on this: voids can result in uneven support of the sewer and cause failure of the sewer, which often times results in a sink-hole above the sewer. This is one reason why we perform evaluations of sewers using Ground Penetrating Radar.
- With GPR, does your equipment pick up utilities that are less that the general rule the utility must have a diameter of 1 inch per 1 foot of depth to detect?
The limitation mentioned is the general rule of thumb for the type of GPR device we typically use for non-structural SUE investigations. The device I am referring to is a GPR with a 250 MHz antennae (the portion of the equipment that transmits the electromagnetic waves). Different frequency antennae will result in different resolutions. For example, a higher frequency antennae may be able to go above and beyond this limitation, while a lower frequency antennae may have trouble detecting a 4-inch pipe that is buried three feet deep. The higher the frequency, the less depth penetration that occurs. Therefore, from a feasibility standpoint for target depth compared to target utilities, the 250 MHz has proven to be the go-to tool for non-structural SUE investigations. In some instances, utilities may be undetectable.
- Are fiber optics utility lines more restrictive to SUE?
Fiber optics can sometimes be placed without a metal shielding to the fibers. When this is the case, yes, they are restrictive to line locators that rely on metallic conductivity. GPR is then used to search for buried conduit that is housing the wire, if such a conduit exists and is large enough to be detected (see response to question 9 above).
- Water jetting seems like it might cause more problems.
We’re not sure what this question refers to, as water jetting is a common practice used to clean debris from sewers. If a utility is in poor condition, the water jet could break away loose, deteriorated materials from the pipe. In this case, the facility is in need of rehabilitation. Feel free to reach out to us if you have additional information you would wish to discuss on this topic.
- The line locator will also pick up a signal from magnetic marking tape over non-metallic pipe.
A good point made by a participant. There are various ways utilities are installed, which can assist in locating. For electromagnetic line locators, a form of metallic conductivity is required. The magnetic marking tape, marker balls, tracer wires, etc. are ways of making non-conductive facilities traceable.
- I would recommend taking a picture of markings after complete, in case someone removes the flags. This has happened and contractor hit sewer line.
Another good point made by a participant. Taking pictures of markings is a common step that we make sure we follow during our SUE work. Documentation is considered very important. We generally make field notes and measurements for any SUE job. Survey of the markings is the best way to retain the information for future use.
- Wouldn’t surveying and measuring the depth of a manhole give you vertical information for that particular utility?
Yes, it would give vertical information at that particular location where the measurements occur and this is commonly performed and recorded. This does not however guarantee vertical information beyond the point of measurement. For gravity sewers, one can assume the vertical alignment of two points are know from manholes. Other services could have varying alignments between manholes.
- Since the degree of accuracy is related to the cost of underground utility locating, do you see better bids from contractors when more information is available, thus the upfront costs may save future construction costs.
Absolutely. Anytime an unknown is removed, the Contractor has information to help them provide a more accurate cost. On the other hand of the question, utility locating can also help avoid a Contractor from guessing too low on cost due to an unknown – this can help avoid claims and change orders during construction.
During our last webinar, The SUE Advantage, the speakers received many questions that they were not able to answer due to time constraints. We want to make sure everyone's questions are addressed whenever we can, therefore, our SUE experts (Ryan P. Butler, P.E. and Tyler A. Dawson, Ph.D., P.E.) have reviewed the questions and provided below. If you missed it, you can view the original SUE webinar here.
In 2016, NTH hosted nearly 5,000 technical webinar attendees - a 39% growth over previous year.
NTH’s engineering webinar program began back in 2011, which attracted a total of nine attendees to its first event. At the time, we were thrilled because we didn’t have any expectations as to how many people we should expect. Since then, the program has grown into one of the largest webinar programs in the country. Much has changed over the past six years, but much has stayed the same too. Below are a few highlights from last year’s webinar program, and what’s in store for 2017.
Last year, we hosted a total of 4,875 attendees, which represents 39% growth over 2015’s record attendance of 3,502. With last year’s average of 487 attendees per event, NTH’s webinar program is now attended more than Engineering News Record’s national webinar program, which generates 190 attendees, on average, per event.
2016 Survey Satisfaction
We pay close attention to what our webinar attendees say in their post-webinar surveys. We agonize over the survey scores and frequently try new, small experiments to see how we can make improvements. One small change this year led to a 200% increase in the number of attendees who completed a short satisfaction survey following the webinar. Rather than emailing attendees and asking them to complete a survey (a 20% response), our surveys now automatically appear when the attendee exits the webinar, resulting in a 60% participation rate. This response rate increase has led to more accurate scores and more suggestions related to how we can improve in the future. Thank you!
2016 Program Quality
When we began our program in 2011, we featured NTH engineers exclusively as webinar speakers. They talked about their services, their expertise, and their industry insights. Eventually, however, we discovered a content-creation program cannot be sustained for very long using this approach. In 2016, we broke from our traditions and began featuring many more outside speakers. As a result, eight of our 10 programs last year included speakers from outside NTH. Attendance and satisfaction surged. We now actively seek out the best speakers, both locally and nationally, to participate in our webinar program. In 2017 we’ll continue along this path, bringing our clients and prospective clients the most current and relevant topics we can muster. As always, we welcome your suggestions.
With a new administration in the White House and over 7 ½ years since our last recession, we are thinking a lot about the economy and our industry’s near-term future. We are beginning our 2017 webinar season with David J. Staley, an associate professor at The Ohio State University talking about how to conduct strategic planning within environments that are characterized by uncertainty. David is well versed on the subject of “futuring” and how we can incorporate multiple possible scenarios and their outcomes into our business planning process. Next, in March, we’ll host the legendary David Burstein, P.E. from PSMJ Resources, Inc. who will talk about the current state of the AE industry and his outlook for 2017. We hope you can join us.
Our webinars are always free, they are always good for one professional development hour, and they are always available for viewing anytime on our website here. We hope to see you in 2017!
Rummel Drain Sinkhole Emergency Repair - NTH’s quick response and expertise allowed traffic to be maintained on both the Northwestern Highway mainline and the service drive without interruption, speeded construction and reduced impact on the operations of nearby businesses.
In our final of a series of four on sinkholes, we discuss our work in Southfield on the Rummel Drain sinkhole repairs that averted a more serious road collapse.
In November of 2013, NTH Consultants, Ltd. was retained by the Oakland County Water Resource Commissioner's Office (OCWRC) to conduct an investigation into the cause of a sinkhole that developed in Southfield, Michigan. NTH’s analysis lead to a repair effort to stabilize the undermined foundations of the culvert and floor of the box sections that carry the drain beneath the service drive of Northwestern Highway (M-10) in Southfield, Michigan.
NTH’s inspection team’s discovered that the natural soil bottom within the portion of the culvert that extends beneath the MDOT ROW was eroded due to discharge from two storm pipes on the sides of the drain. NTH was able to quickly identify that the discharge from these pipes projected away from the culvert walls in a jet that struck the channel bottom within the culvert. Because the pipes are connected to the roadway surface drainage system and convey flow from relatively nearby catch basins and other stormwater management structures, during short, intense precipitation events the maximum discharge from the pipes likely would occur before maximum flow is reached. Accordingly, the water depth within the culvert could remain relatively shallow and not provide much “cushion/dissipation” for the jets from the two pipes, leading to erosion of the channel bottom.
Through NTH’s quick response, planning and action, the team was able to:
This project demonstrated a practical approach to addressing scouring and loss of support beneath culvert footings of similar construction. Because a similar design approach was used at other locations along Northwestern Highway and elsewhere, it is possible that this type of repair may be required elsewhere along the highway. In addition, it appears that since similar design was common for other MDOT projects built in the same time frame, routine inspection of such culverts is necessary, in order
to avert situations similiar to this location.
Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain Repair Program (third of Four Blog Series on Sinkholes)
In August 2004 a developing sinkhole was encountered at the intersection of Fontana Drive and 15 Mile Road in the City of Sterling Heights over the Romeo Arm of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s (DWSD) Oakland Macomb Interceptor System (OMIS). As the emergency repair work continued to restore the affected roads and subsurface infrastructure, another question was being raised, “How can we find and prevent future sinkholes.”
The interceptor that caused the sinkhole has an inside diameter of 11 feet and was located approximately 62 feet below the ground surface. Based on NTH research, the use of Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Waves (MASW), a geophysical technique that uses seismic waves to determine subsurface conditions, was selected to initiate the search for potential failure areas. Following the restoration of the 2004 sinkhole collapse, MASW was used in conjunction with closed circuit television to inspect the balance of the Romeo Arm interceptor.
The geotechnical exploration confirmed the presence of disturbed soils and potential voids that were subsequently stabilized from inside the interceptor. Based on the initial findings and correlation between the MASW results and loose soils and voids surrounding the tunnel, NTH was tasked by DWSD to investigate the balance of the OMIS, including the Edison Corridor Interceptor (ECI), Oakland Arm Interceptor (OAI), and the Avon Arm Interceptor (AAI).
The investigation report identified the need to complete the geotechnical work and recommended a series of repairs. Ownership of the ECI, OAI, and AAI was later transferred to a Chapter 21 Inter-County Drain managed by the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drainage Board.
Based upon our knowledge of the conditions in the new Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain, a project team headed by NTH was selected to provide engineering services based on the compiled recommended repairs for the EEI and the OAI/AAI from the January 2008 reports. These reports also recommended performing a geotechnical investigation of identified anomalies and a MASW survey of the downstream portion of the OAI be completed.
2004 Romeo Arm Interceptor Reconstruction
(Sinkhole Series: second post of four)
The latest sinkhole in a residential neighborhood has caught the attention of Southeastern Michigan residents who are concerned about how sinkholes occur and how they can be fixed. Last week we posted an article about how sinkholes happen, and this week we will be posting about some of the work we have done to help with sinkhole issues in the area to show the work behind the repairs. NTH Consultants' engineers, no stranger to sinkhole investigations, have been called on for our expertise many times over the years to help with both emergency assistance as well as long term rehabilitation of sewers at sinkhole sites. An account of one such example is below.
As some may recall, in August 2004, six homes were evacuated when a 40-foot deep sinkhole developed over the Romeo Arm Interceptor in the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department immediately assembled a team of staff members, contractors, and engineers to formulate an emergency plan to stabilize the area. As prime consultant, NTH Consultants led an effort to stabilize the area, ensure wastewater service was not interrupted and to permanently repair
the damaged interceptor.
By Jason R. Edberg, P.E., NTH Vice-President, Principal Engineer
The sinkhole in Fraser is capturing the attention of residents in Southeastern Michigan and across the country, many of whom are wondering how sinkholes happen and what can be done to fix them. Or better yet, what can be done to avoid them in the first place.
A sinkhole is basically any hole in the ground that is formed by erosion and drainage of water. They can be very small or as we are seeing in Fraser, they can be big enough to swallow houses, or even whole neighborhoods. Sometimes, sinkholes are the result of natural soil and rock formations, but other times they can be caused by our aging underground infrastructure.
NTH is no stranger to dealing with sinkholes and we have been called in to work on many in Southeastern Michigan. We have won several awards for our quick response to and our innovative solutions for fixing sinkholes in the area. We have also had our engineers helping to answer questions and work on solutions for the Fraser sinkhole.
We will have a series on sinkholes within the next week to show how sinkholes such as these are formed and what NTH has done to help fix and avert sinkholes in our area. In this article, we have included illustrations that will help demonstrate how sinkholes occur. Next week we will follow up with some of our award-winning sinkhole projects.
Questions About the MISS DIG System Answered by Bruce Campbell, CEO, MISS DIG System
At our webinar originally presented on: Thursday, September 29, 2016, our attendees had so many questions, that we ran out of time before they could all be answered. After the webinar, Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG and his team took all of those questions and got them answered for us. Even if you weren't on the webinar, you could benefit from these answers. And if you would like to catch up on the webinar, you can view it here.
Below are the highlights of the Q & A, if you are interested in more, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send you the entire list.
Q. Can you define business hours?
A. Business hours are Monday thru Friday 7:00am to 5:00pm.
Q. What determines whether or not the "work has begun" within 14 days? Who makes this determination? Is it based on a contractor’s presence on the site or actual excavation beginning?
A. Excavation determines whether or not the work has begun. The only way MISS DIG 811 would be aware that excavation has not begun within 14 days is if the excavator calls in a retransmit for unmarked facilities. See MDPB Best Practices for Amended 14-day rule. Clarifies Excavation as it relates to 14-day rule is same as Excavation as defined by PA 174. So any action listed as excavation in PA 174 has to be performed within the 14-day window.
Q. Can you please provide additional information on pursuing the required training for contractors interested in becoming authorized to enter ticket requests online? (not just single address tickets).
A. In order to be trained on Remote Ticket Entry, an application must be submitted. Remote Ticket Entry allows you to place almost any type of ticket that a MISS DIG 811 operator can place. To apply for Remote Ticket training, please submit the application from our website: http://www.missdig.org/programs/remote-ticket-entry.html. Online training lasts approximately 2 hours.
Q. Can you please provide an example of how an excavator would benefit from being a member with access to the design side of MISSDIG. Does membership involve financial commitments? Also, what is the focus of Associate membership?
A. Some of the benefits of becoming a Contractor Associate Member include the ability to place a design request. Design tickets help identify underground facilities while in the planning stage. In addition, Associate members can attend our annual meetings, they have an option to run for our Board of Directors, and the company’s web link can be placed on the MISS DIG 811 website. In addition, a Corporate account includes the MISS DIG 811 Certification program that provides creation of reports, free research requests with metrics, and MISS DIG 811 merchandise that can be purchased at a 10% discount.
Yes, there is a fee involved. Associate Membership is available for Contract Locators, Vendors, Designers, and Contractors wishing to participate in the MISS DIG 811 Certification Program. The focus depends on the type of Associate Membership you would be applying for. For more information, please click the link: http://www.missdig.org/members/design-ticket-members.html
To find benefits for Contract Locators, Vendors, and Design Companies to become Associate Members, you can also visit
http://www.missdig.org/cm/dpl/downloads/content/1091/MISS_DIG_Associate_Memberships.pdf for details.
Q. Does a municipality have a responsibility to locate a private sanitary sewer lead?
A. A municipality has the responsibility to locate a lead within the public right-of-way.
As stated in the MDPB Best Practices authored by the MPSC and adopted by the MDPB.
Q. For a design ticket, is an owner required to pothole to accurately locate their facility?
A. No, facility owners are not required to pothole on design tickets. Below is an excerpt from Public Act 174 which is available to review on our website: http://www.missdig.org/education/public-act-174.html
(3) The response to a design ticket is to provide general information regarding the location of underground facilities, not to mark any facilities. However, if a facility owner or operator does not have drawings or records that show the location of a facility, the facility owner or operator shall mark that facility under the procedures described in section 7. A design ticket or information provided in response to a design ticket does not satisfy the requirement under this act for excavation or blasting notice to the notification system or marking the approximate location of facilities for blasting or excavation.
Q. How close may I dig adjacent to a marked underground utility without hand exposing the underground utility prior to excavating?
A. If work is being done outside of the 8 ft. caution zone (4 ft. from either side of the markings), hand digging is not required. If work is being done inside of the 8 ft. caution zone, hand digging is required.
An excavator can request additional assistance if hand digging does not expose the location of marked utility within the approximate location of the marked utility. “Approximate Location” means a strip of land at least 36 inches wide, but not wider than the width of the marked utility plus 18 inches on either side of the utility marks.
Q. How do I get involved with the Michigan Damage Prevention Board?
A. MDPB is in place to review any comments or concerns from Stakeholders. These meetings are open to all Stakeholders, and are held on the 4th Thursday of each month at the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, located at 2937 Atrium Dr. #100, Okemos, MI 48864 at 9AM. Meetings are subject to room availability, please contact Dirk Dunham at email@example.com to be added to the email list to receive updates on this meeting.
Q. How do we know if everyone has responded (to a MISS DIG ticket request)?
A. Check Positive Response at http://response.missdig811.org/ or http://newtina.missdig.org/newtinweb/gen_resp_inquiry.nas or call 1-800-763-3888.
Q. I do not see the time requirement for response to emergency requests, but it seems from your slides that it is now 3 hours. Is that correct?
A. A ‘NOW’ emergency with the crew en route or on-site must be marked within 3 hours. A scheduled emergency (e.g. 8am the next morning) has to be marked by the date & time the emergency was scheduled to begin.
Q. Bruce, what action do you recommend be taken when a contractor/excavator is using dig ticket requests for design purposes?
A. The first step would be to contact MISS DIG 811 with ticket number examples so we can make contact with the excavator and educate them on the difference between a design and a dig request. If the practice continues, you could file a dispute assistance form (DAFFY) which is available on the MISS DIG 811 website: http://www.missdig.org/excavators/daffy.html
Q. If all responses have been made and it has only been two days, can I start digging?
A. No, you must wait the entire 72 hours, court cases bear this out. An excavator shall provide a dig notice to the notification system at least 72 hours of (i.e. 3 business days) before the start of excavation.
Q. (A certain entity) will send in tickets, and before we can stake it, they will do the work before the 3 days.
A. When you post a response to the ticket, use the code 007-Stated Scope of Work Completed
Q. If we have a current shape file, where should we send it to make your job easier?
A. Email the shape file in a zipped file to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Shape file requirements can be found on the MISS DIG 811 website under Member Information, and then clicking on Mapping Support.
Q. If you have submitted a ticket for an address, you know that you won't start digging within 14 days, and you also know that you need to create a new ticket: Should you cancel the original ticket if it is close to expiring?
A. You can only cancel a ticket within 3-working days from the time the ticket was placed. If you haven’t started digging within 14 days, and it’s after 3-working days, just place a new request.
Q. Is it really 21 days to complete an excavation? We have many projects that go far beyond this time frame.
A. Regular locate requests are valid for 21 days. When the digging portion of your job will take over 21 days, you can place a Project ticket (e.g. road construction, water main installation). These tickets are valid for 180 days.
Q. What can be done about municipalities that do not come out and mark their facilities?
A. If municipality is a MISS DIG 811 member, place an “Unmarked Facilities” retransmit as often as necessary. If that proves ineffective, you could file a Dispute Assistance Form (DAFFY) which is available on the MISS DIG 811 website: http://www.missdig.org/excavators/daffy.html. If neither trying to first settle the dispute with the adverse party, then submitting the dispute assistance form doesn’t work, you can then make an official complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Q. Is there any State or Federal funding available to offset the expense of locating utilities?
A. Offsetting the expense of locating lines could be done by raising rates. If regulated, apply to MPSC for a rate increase to cover the costs associated. If unregulated, follow the proper legal channels to raise rates.
Q. Is there going to be an app developed anytime soon?
A. While MISS DIG 811 has considered and reviewed building an app in the past, at this time, we do not believe an app would be beneficial to our users. Current cell phone technology does not allow for an accurate pin point location of the user. This restricts the user's ability to place a locate request, via app, based on their current location as the coordinates could be inaccurate causing potential danger to life and/or property. Until a time that an accurate pin point location can be made from a cell phone, MISS DIG 811 has decided to not pursue building an app.
However, MISS DIG 811 does offer many smart phone friendly programs and online applications that can be saved to your phones home screen for easy access. These programs and applications include:
* e-Locate, elocate.missdig811.org, for anyone placing single address locate requests
* Positive Response Status, status.missdig811.org, for users to check the current positive response status of an existing locate request
* Web TMS, webtms.missdig811.org, for members to access their MISS DIG 811 Ticket Management accounts
* Positive Response Posting, post.missdig811.org, for members to post the positive response status of their open locate requests
* Ticket Search Lite, tsl.missdig811.org, for members to search their tickets placed during the last 122 days
Q. It would be good to have a standard system for all states since our office, and surely many others, have projects in many states. Is there anyone working toward this?
A. A valid observation, but at this time, since each state is governed by their own laws, the standards set in place will vary. Currently, there is nothing in the works nationally.
Q. Once you submit a design ticket, can it be corrected or replaced with a new one?
A. Design tickets cannot be corrected or cancelled once they have been submitted. If you need to cancel the request or make an adjustment to the information on the ticket, submit a new ticket explaining the cancellation or changes that are needed and reference the previous ticket number in the Scope of Work field.
Q. Do you need a ticket for (concrete) saw cutting?
A. If the concrete saw cutting involves disturbing the ground, a dig ticket must be placed.
Q. What about a utility that sends in an emergency and it is not an emergency?
A. All tickets should indicate why they are an emergency. However, if a contractor is often abusing the system, you could file a Dispute Assistance Form (DAFFY), which is available on the MISS DIG 811 website: http://www.missdig.org/excavators/daffy.html . If the DAFFY form doesn’t alleviate the problem, a complaint can be filed with MPSC.
Q. What are the rules regarding removal of markings? For example, a site is marked one day, an excavator removes the flags and the next contractor (who placed the original MISS DIG), digs the next day and hits an electrical line?
A. Each contractor on the job is required to have their own MISS DIG 811 ticket in their company’s name. If the above scenario occurred, the 2nd contractor would have to place a 2nd request on his ticket for destroyed markings. The member utilities have 24 non-weekend or holiday hours to respond to.
An excerpt from PA 174:
(7) An excavator shall provide notification to the notification system if facility markings are destroyed or covered by excavation or blasting activities or if a ticket expires before the commencement of excavation. If a ticket expires before the commencement of excavation, an excavator shall provide a new dig notice to the notification system, and comply with subsection (1)
The next paragraphs refer to the 1st contractor that perhaps removed the markings in a malicious manner:
(c) Willfully removes or otherwise destroys stakes or other physical markings used to mark the approximate location of underground facilities unless that removal or destruction occurs after the excavation or blasting is completed or as an expected consequence of the excavation or blasting activity.
(2) Upon complaint filed with the commission or upon the commission's own motion, following notice and hearing, a person, other than a governmental agency, who violates any of the provisions of this act may be ordered to pay a civil fine of not more than $5,000.00 for each violation. In addition to or as an alternative to any fine, the commission may require the person to obtain reasonable training to assure future compliance with this act. Before filing a complaint under this subsection, a person shall attempt to settle the dispute with the adverse party or parties using any reasonable means of attempted resolution acceptable to the involved parties.
Q. What are the responsibilities and liabilities for large areas of private property (e.g. university) as to who is responsible for damages?
A. It really depends on the situation. Many universities are MISS DIG 811 members, and locate their utilities. In those situations, the same rules would apply as they would to any other facility owner/operator. Large area private property owners are encouraged & often required to become MISS DIG members so they can be notified of an excavation. Without this type of notification, it is suggested that the property owner be notified directly.
Q. Does improperly following of the rules (i.e. not hand digging within the safe zone) remove liability protection from the contractor?
A. The safe zone is the area outside of the 48 inches on either side of the markings. However, if they’re referring to the caution zone (within the 4 ft. distance on either side of the markings), then you must hand dig to expose the line. It is the law, not a rule. If work is being done within the safe zone, outside of the 8 ft. wide caution zone (4 ft. from either side of the markings), hand digging is not required. An excavator can request additional assistance if hand digging does not expose the location of marked utility within the approximate location of the marked utility. “Approximate Location” means a strip of land at least 36 inches wide, but not wider than the width of the marked utility plus 18 inches on either side of the utility marks.
Q. What if locators don’t show up within 3 hours of the emergency request? Can we dig?
A. No. Under PA 174, an excavator is required to place an unmarked facility request after the 3-hour window. Member utilities must always be marked before excavation commences.
Q. I thought the 2nd office was in Gladstone?
A. The office in the UP was originally located in Escanaba, but it is now in Gladstone.
Q. When doing soil borings for a design project, how close to a marked utility are you obligated to hand dig to locate the utility prior to boring?
A. Design tickets are created strictly for work in the planning stage of a project, where no digging will yet occur. Lines are not marked unless the facility owner/operator cannot provide the designer with sufficient drawings or blueprints etc. On the other hand, soil boring does require a regular ticket, and therefore hand digging, if working within the caution zone (4ft on either side of the markings). You must bore in the safe zone, outside the 8ft wide caution zone, if you are not hand digging.
Q. When is Miss Dig's Ticket Management Software targeted to be available to member communities?
A. The start date is not currently available. However, it should be available by the 2017.
Q. We'd love to learn more about the Gold Shovel Standard!
A. MISS DIG 811 will be sending out educational information once the Gold Shovel Standard is adopted.
Q. Will there be a (software development kit) SDK for Near Ticket so we can include it into our own website interface?
A. MISS DIG 811 will have marketing tools available to our members, once the Near Ticket is set up.
Q. With design tickets, how does one handle non-responses or late responses from facility owners? (A certain facility) specifically is running about 7 weeks from ticket submittal before a response is received, and many others are not responding at all.
A. As part of the Intent of Purpose for design: “All communication regarding design tickets will be between the designer & the facility owner/operator.” However, by law, all member utilities are required to participate in the design process. So, if a member utility isn’t following correct design ticket procedures (refusing to participate or being extremely late in their response to the designer) or if the contact info for a member utility is no longer valid, the designer could contact MISS DIG 811 Member Services to let them know of the situation. At that point, Member Services could reach out to the member utility to make sure they have a clear understanding of the process.
If that didn’t work, the designer could file a Dispute Assistance Form (DAFFY) which is available on the MISS DIG 811 website: http://www.missdig.org/excavators/daffy.html . If the DAFFY response proved unhelpful, a complaint can be filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Q. Bruce mentioned a web address for checking Positive Responses. Can you provide that to us please?
A. http://response.missdig811.org or http://newtin.missdig.org/newtinweb/gen_resp_inquiry.nas are both Positive Response web addresses. Positive Response is also available from the MISS DIG 811 website www.missdig811.org and clicking on ‘CHECK STATUS.’
Q. 18" either side of the facility for hand exposure, but how deep?
A. Public Act 174 does not currently require facility owners to provide the depth of their lines.
Q. What constitutes an emergency?
A. An emergency is defined as any sudden or unforeseen occurrence, including a government-declared emergency, involving a clear and imminent danger to life, health, or property, or imminent danger to the environment, that requires immediate correction in order to restore or to prevent the interruption of essential governmental service, utility services, or the blockage of public transportation and that requires immediate excavation or blasting.
Q. How does an emergency ticket look different than a normal ticket?
A. Depending on the ticket management system of the member utility, an emergency ticket may only be identified by the heading at the top of the ticket. Example:
MBRCDE 00001 MISSDIGa 10/04/16 11:41:17 A000000000-00A EMER NEW GRID
As opposed to
MBRCDE 00001 MISSDIGa 10/04/16 07:19:46 A00000000-00A NORM NEW GRID
This week, a representative from the Clinton River Watershed Council was in the NTH Northville office to present John Kosnak with a plaque to recognize NTH as a Top Corporate Sponsor for the “Walk on the Wild Side” at the Detroit Zoo!
The Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and celebrating the Clinton River, its watershed and Lake St. Clair. For more than 40 years, the CRWC has provided opportunities for citizens, schools, governments, businesses, and other community groups to get involved and active in ensuring a healthy Clinton River for everyone. Through education, stewardship, and watershed management the CRWC strives to make a difference in our watershed for today and for future generations.
As part of NTH's Water Resources Initiative, NTH is proud to sponsor the CRWC in their efforts.
Free Webinar: WORLD TRENCHLESS DAY
TODAY: September 22, 2016 (2:00 p.m. ET)
CEU Credits Available for a $10 fee
As part of today’s World Trenchless Day event, celebrating all things trenchless technology in the construction industry, NTH’s Jason Edberg will be participating in a special announcement of the 24th annual Trenchless Technology Projects of the Year winners. Representatives from the winning projects will be on hand to give an overview of the projects and what makes them special.
The announcement and presentation by Mr. Edberg will immediately follow a webinar sponsored by Avanti International entitled “Re-Living 50 Years of Municipal Sewer Grouting & WHAT’S NEXT.”
Cargill Inc., an NTH client, recently won a Governor's Energy Excellence Award in the Best Industrial/Manufacturing Project category for their outstanding efforts to reduce energy waste at their Cargill Salt – St. Clair facility. The winners were announced by Governor Rick Snyder at a ceremony at Michigan State University.
According to their entry, in 2015 Cargill Inc., a producer of salt for the food service industry, replaced its duel-fired coal-natural gas saturated heat steam boiler and its natural gas package boiler with a single, new 284.4 MMBTU boiler rated at 175,000 pounds per hour. The change resulted in energy savings of nearly 1.2 million therms, enough to power more than 14,000 homes each year.
Cargill is a long time NTH client; we have supported Cargill’s environmental staff for many years with air quality and water quality requirements. NTH worked with Cargill staff in regards to Boiler MACT compliance strategies and developed an air use permit to install application for the new natural gas boiler to replace the existing coal and gas boilers.
NTH congratulates Cargill on its award and looks forward to working with the company further.
The NTH Narrator
NTH Consultants, Ltd. (NTH) is a nationally recognized engineering firm specializing in Geotechnical, Environmental, and Facilities Engineering.