Ohio HDD is Proactive with Damage Prevention Council

by Diana Barnum

Here is a good question. “If the utilities come out, mark their lines and inadvertently miss one, are drillers responsible for hitting lines that aren’t marked?” asked Ron White, trenchless technology division manager of Cook Paving & Construction Co., Inc., and president of the Ohio Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) Association.
Here is a bad answer.
“Yes,” said Ken Yost, utilities coordinator for the City of Columbus Transportation Division. “But we are in the process of making electronic maps and putting them online.” The maps will not include utility lines, though, due to cost factors.
Yost is trying to help, though. He was the featured speaker at a recent meeting of the Ohio HDD Association meeting in Bellville, Ohio. Yost showed a video of a brick sewer line buried under a major street in downtown Columbus. What was interesting was some cable that had been drilled right through the brick sewer. In other words, the contractor did not stop when he lost flow. He kept on drilling, completed the job, collected payment and left.
Results of that job? The sewer began leaking. It collapsed. The street caved in. Unfortunately, a Columbus lawyer had been driving a Mercedes Benz on the street at the time and landed in a 20-foot hole - car and all. (He did come out uninjured.)
Not long after this incident, Yost was asked to develop regulations governing the use of HDD in the City of Columbus and he has just completed the development of a Utility Coordination manual. He distributed copies and discussed their inclusion as Section 17 within the General Rules and Regulations for City Chapter 903 of the Department of Public Service, Transportation Division, City of Columbus, Ohio. Section 17 covers:
• Preplanning - This section details the development of a drill plan, 50 scale minimum, investigate existing utilities, then proceed in the City Right-of-Way ONLY with an approved permit from the Transportation Administrator.
• Preconstruction - This section details notification of Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) and city utility owners, marking the drill path and locate verification.
• During Construction - This section details site walkover and equipment calibration, exposed utilities, drilling operations monitoring, maintenance of markings, drilling fluid control, emergency contacts, damage instructions, and sewer video inspection.
Ignorance of the law is not acceptable. Violations of policy can be fined $1,000 or imprisoned for up to six months, or both. And the City Attorney does enforce the law.
Yost concluded his presentation with a discussed of the importance and value of following the Good Drilling Practice Guidelines. These Guidelines are a comprehensive reference for training field-responsible personnel to make effective, safe installations using HDD technology. They were developed by members of the DCCA, Distribution Contractors Association, Equipment Manufacturers Institute, National Utility Contractors Association, North American Society for Trenchless Technology, and Power & Communications Contractors Association. Had the Guidelines been enforced at the time of the brick sewer dilemma on the video, operations would have been different.
“When you drill a hole and lose flow, you should stop and try to find out why,” said John Christ (short “i”), of Baroid-IDP and manufacturing representative for the Ohio HDD Association. “Dig down and find out.”
Members of the Ohio HDD Association are proactive. Their original membership application already stipulates that applicants must “adhere to the Good Drilling Practice Guidelines as published by the HDD Consortium.”
Yost invited Ohio HDD members to attend monthly Ohio Damage Prevention Council meetings in their areas for further proactive involvement in underground drilling operations and distributed a schedule of meetings throughout Ohio. Yost holds Associate Degrees in both Surveying and Civil Engineering and coordinates the city’s roadway improvement operations with the utilities that serve the Columbus area. He is also a founding member of the Greater Columbus Damage Prevention Council and currently serves as President of the Council.
The Ohio HDD Association has other proactive plans in the works. They will be promoting the HDD industry and inviting new members to join at the Ohio Construction Expo at Veteran’s Memorial in Columbus on February 20- 21, 2003. They will also be participating in the Ohio Safety Congress in April in Columbus with back-to-back training sessions. And plans are in the works to possibly host their first convention in conjunction with the Midwest Society for Trenchless Technology symposium on April 17-18 at Bowling Green State University.
If you would like to be proactive and get better answers to damage questions, the Ohio HDD invites you to be proactive with them and join their ranks. For more information, contact Ohio HDD Association Office, Dan Schlosser, P. O. Box 310, Caledonia, Ohio USA 43314. Call: (800) 537-6585 or (419) 845-2023, or fax inquiries to: (419) 845-2026. Visit ohiohdd.org or e-mail: ASSNHQ@gte.net . For more information about General Rules and Regulations regarding HDD in Columbus, contact Kenneth Yost, Utilities Coordinator, Public Service Dept. Engineering and Construction Division, 109 N. Front St. / 3rd Floor, Columbus, OH 43215. Call: (614) 645-8018, or fax inquiries to: (614) 645-6938.