DIRT Report

Search or Filter

Search DIRT

Table of Contents

Letter from CGA's President & CEO

As we publish the 2022 DIRT Report and Interactive Dashboard, the damage prevention industry is at a pivotal moment, with an opportunity to take our mission of protecting critical buried infrastructure to the next level. The data this year highlights concerning trends, while also providing a roadmap to guide our efforts toward achieving the Common Ground Alliance’s 50-in-5 industry challenge.

Participation in the Damage Prevention Institute’s metrics-focused accreditation and peer review processes is the first and best step that all facility owner-operators, excavators and locators can take toward shared accountability and our ambitious damage reduction goal. For the first time in 2022, excavators, road builders and engineers were the top DIRT reporting source, reflecting our increased engagement with these stakeholder groups.

This year’s insights underscore consistent priority action areas that will significantly reduce damages. For facility owners, GIS-based mapping of assets and communication are urgently needed to improve locating timelines and accuracy. Construction, maintenance, installation and locating contracts must incentivize adherence to Best Practices and drive damage reductions. Excavators must double down on safe work practices and proper use of 811. Expanded enforcement and education programs are essential to motivate compliance. And improved damage reporting and analysis across the industry is required to strengthen our understanding of challenges and measure progress toward 50-in-5.Damages were cut in half in the decade following the designation of 811 as the national before-you-dig number, but then started rising again and at best have leveled off in recent years.

The amount of utility installation and improvement set to occur across the U.S. over the next several years will result in an enormous increase in excavation activity. Your commitment to forward-thinking practices, engagement across committees and programs, participation in the Damage Prevention Institute, and investments in innovative technologies and processes are essential. We need each stakeholder’s commitment to reducing their damages by 50% over the next five years to achieve our goal.

Visionary organizations have made promising progress, such as in Chicago where coordination and mapping efforts have helped reduce damages by 50% over a five-year period. Initiatives like this demonstrate what is possible through collaboration and commitment to continuous improvement. Pilot projects like the Minnesota Utilities Mapping Project highlight how innovation can address critical challenges. Strategies for allowing more flexibility in the 811 process have been successfully implemented in states like Maryland, Missouri and Virginia. By learning from these successes and scaling effective solutions, we can collectively achieve our ambitious goals.

Please join me in thanking CGA’s Data Reporting & Evaluation Committee for their work in creating a streamlined 2022 DIRT Report, which remains the only comprehensive accounting and analysis of damages to buried infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada. The conclusion we must draw from this and past DIRT Reports is clear: Now is the time for the damage prevention industry to take decisive, bold action by embracing innovation, capitalizing on technological advancements and working together to reimagine a damage prevention process that works for all stakeholders.

Be safe,

Sarah K. Magruder Lyle

Damage Prevention in Your State

Explore damage prevention information, local contacts and rules for safe digging in North America.

Find Your State

CGA Toolkits

CGA has created a suite of toolkits designed to help members generate public awareness about the importance of damage prevention.

Explore Resources