Steering Committee to Rewrite the District One-Call Law
Chairman, Scott Brown: Vice Chairman, Meena Gowda, Esq.
Host Venue – Miss Utility Call Center in Hanover, MD
Minutes of the Meeting – December 18, 2015
Prepared by Dora Parks, Secretary
PURPOSE OF REWRITE
To modify the current District of Columbia One-Call Law, Title 34 “Public Utilities”; Subtitle 7, Chapter 27 to meet the requirements of PHMSA’s Nine Key Elements of an effective damage prevention program and to reflect best and current practices. Enforcement of the DC law will have its foundation in outreach and education.
The 51st meeting of the Steering Committee was called to order at 8:35 am by Chairman Brown. Customary committee and guest introductions were made, there were (18) in attendance.
Chairman Brown addressed the committee’s efforts over the past two years regarding the current Title 34 District of Columbia, damage prevention law; to ensure it includes the Common Ground Alliance best practices and the 2006 PIPES Act to enhance safety in the District. The committee has been working on law violation reporting and the flow of the violation process. The enforcement goal is to mitigate utility damages via enforcement by training and education. The committee has contrasted the Virginia and Maryland enforcement practice.
Jim Barron, Executive Director of the Maryland Authority provided a handout and verbal overview of the current operating practices regarding the Notice of Probable Violation (NPV) process for the committee’s review and comments. Mr. Barron explained at this time the Authority does not provided site investigations looking for violations, rather all probable violations are received by the Authority via an internet, Authority website by way of a reporting claim process.
Denny Showalter (DC NUCA, Insight) provided an overview of the Virginia violation process;
- State Corporation Commission (SCC) receives NPV.
- The SCC will accept phone complaints (Note, VA has mandatory gas damage reporting.)
- The SCC staff provides the investigation communicating with the claimant and probable violator.
- Investigator provides a recommendation to the Advisory Committee made up of (13) stake holders. (Note, committee serves a two year term with no term limits.)
- Fine based on five elements surrounding culpability to gravity.
- Advisory can reduce the recommended fine and include training.
- There is no admittance of guilt by the violator, the violation is always considered probable.
- Violation recommendation is provided to the probable violator.
- Probable violator can pay the fine or request an informal conference with the Advisory committee. (Note, attorneys are not part of the informal conference.)
Committee discussions followed regarding,
- Methods to stop excavation/demolition work when an excavator does not have an excavation/demolition ticket issued by the one-call system.
- Maryland Authority - documentation subject to disclosure. Per Mr. Barron, all NPV information is public information under FOIA.
- Maryland Authority – considered quasi government agency operating under the Administrations Procedures Act.
- Mandatory utility damage reporting and at what levels?
- Enhanced Positive Response provided by WGL.
- DC Authority possible funding, mandatory computer based Title 34 training for an annual fee, grants, percentage of collected violation fines and claim fees.
- DDOT, voluntary training before issuance of permit and DCRA.
Draft changes were made to sections; Enforcement & Penalties and Damage Prevention Fund.
The meeting adjourned at 11:55am.
Scheduled committee meetings at Miss Utility, call center starting at 8:30am,
Friday, January 15, 2016
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Title 34 Rewrite Steering Committee meetings are open to the public and are held at the Miss Utility Call Center located at; 7223 Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Hanover, MD 21076.
Meeting minutes, attendee list and Title 34 working draft copies are available for review at,