Construction damage is the leading cause of incidents reported by regulated natural gas pipeline systems according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA). The most recent Damage Information and Report Tool (DIRT), published by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), reports facility damage that occurred on a weekend was nearly twice as likely to involve hand tools (such as shovels and post-hole diggers) than damage that occurred on a weekday, 50% of all reported damage occurred between June and September, and August was the month with the most total damage. Clearly, there’s an ongoing need for public education, but natural gas system operators must also receive notices of proposed excavations, locate underground facilities in proposed excavation areas, and provide temporary markings of buried facilities, and do so within their state’s Damage Prevention statutes.
The webinar will focus on system operator responsibilities under CFR § 192.614 Damage Prevention Programs and managing the risks associated with excavation. The presenter will discuss the components of an effective Damage Prevention Program (education, technology and enforcement), methods to leverage outreach with one-call centers and stakeholders, and the use of data metrics to measure the progress of program objectives.
The webinar will be presented by Eric Swartley, the Senior Manager of Pipeline & Public Safety at UGI Utilities. Eric is responsible for UGI’s Damage Prevention Program, including sewer cross bore awareness, outreach to local and state emergency management agencies, and public awareness education. He has also published a number of articles and presented and authored industry papers on damage prevention awareness during his 40 years in the natural gas distribution industry. Eric has been with UGI since 1979 and he has held numerous positions in operations, engineering, marketing, public safety and compliance. He holds a B.S. in Management from the Pennsylvania State University.