Iowa One Call Works to Keep Iowans Safe
DES MOINES, Iowa (April 11, 2013) – After being cooped up all winter long, most Iowans cannot wait for spring weather to start outdoor digging projects. Iowa One Call wants to remind Iowans to have buried utility lines located before they dig. There are thousands of miles of underground utility lines essential to our community infrastructure that can become damaged if hit with a shovel or excavation equipment.
“We tend to forget that many of the essentials to our daily living are conveyed via an invisible infrastructure, buried beneath our feet,” said Ben Booth, Manager of Public Relations/Communications for Iowa One Call. “Electricity, natural gas, communication lines and water and sewer services are all essential infrastructure that could be interrupted if someone decides to dig without first having an underground facility locating service mark their yard for free.”
Iowa One Call manages a system that allows homeowners or contractors to arrange free locating services anywhere across the state. Residents and professional excavators can call 811 toll free or visit DigSafeWait48.com to fill out a locate request called an iTic and arrange for someone to come out and locate the buried utility lines. All requests for locates must be made to Iowa One Call at least 48-hours prior to beginning any digging or excavating (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays).
“Failure to make the required notice to Iowa One Call could result in some very serious consequences,” said Booth. “Damaging underground facilities can impact the wellbeing of Iowans by disrupting essential services, causing large-scale service outages and even worse, by putting people in harm’s way. Fortunately, Iowa has one of the lowest reported dig in (digging-related damage) rates (1.6 percent) in the country, but Iowa One Call is in the business to help get that number to zero.”
Last year, nearly 500,000 requests were made for location services in Iowa. Of those requests, only 11 percent were from homeowners, a number that the Iowa One Call campaign wants to see grow.
It’s important that homeowners understand their role in protecting Iowa’s vital underground facilities infrastructure. This is one of the reasons why Iowa One Call teamed up with Common Ground Iowa (CGI) and Governor Branstad on April 11th to declare April as Safe Digging month in Iowa.
Professional excavators are very aware that, by law, they have to arrange locating services before digging, but most homeowners don’t realize they are also required by law to locate underground infrastructure before planting trees or building a deck, for example.
“The free locating service can also help homeowners and professional excavators avoid large fines and utility service charges for repairing damaged facilities,” said Booth. “If there aren’t any flags, or colored paint markings in your yard, you shouldn’t be digging.”
Residents should call 811 and talk to a representative or go online at DigSafeWait48.com and fill out an iTic to schedule the free service. Once completed, the appropriate locating service is contacted for that area. Professionals will come out and mark the yard or project site within 48 hours, not including Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays. Once the required 48-hour timeline has expired, homeowners or contractors can begin digging.
In today’s society we want things to happen nearly instantly, so waiting 48 hours for a free location service may seem like forever. But, hitting an underground facility can result in far greater consequences, the least of which might be even longer waiting periods. For more information about how you can dig safe, visit the Iowa One Call website.
Iowa One Call Center Launches ITIC and IMAP Upgrade
Ongoing efforts to enhance the user interface include significant upgrades to two important web-based applications: ITIC and IMAP.
ITIC makes it possible for excavators to input their locate requests directly to the call center via the internet.
“We think users will be very happy with the improvements to the program,” says Connie Schmidt, Center Manager.
She notes that among other changes, the entire user interface has been redesigned with features to make it easier than ever to enter locates on line.
IMAP allows facility operators to manage their notification database on line.
It was also completely redesigned with many of the mapping improvements now available in ITIC.
“Many facility operators save lots of time and money by using IMAP”, says Schmidt. ”It’s intuitive, easy-to-use, free and available 24 hours a day.”
If you’re already registered to use these products and for some reason aren’t, point your browser to http://ia.itic.occinc.com/iMenu/ia.
Feel free to email the center at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments you may have.
Iowa One Call Has a New Promo Store!
Iowa One Call promotional products and literature are now available in our online store. These quality resources are provided to IOC members and stakeholders in an effort to extend the reach of our shared message.
CLICK HERE to visit the new store!
Design Locate Request Waiting Period Has Been Reduced
At its April 26 meeting, the Iowa One Call Board of Directors voted to reduce the waiting period between submitting a Design Information Request and requesting a Design Locate from ten (10) days to five (5) days. The shorter waiting period will begin on Tuesday, May 8. The utilities will still have five (5) days in which to provide the on site locates.
This action was taken in response to the requests from designers who reported that the waiting period was unnecessarily long.
This is the second significant operational enhancement to the Design Request system initiated by the Board. Effective January 1, 2012, the Board removed the subscription fees thus making the service available at no cost.
Future enhancements to the DRS functionality will include easier manipulation of the mapping portion, better base maps, more surface features as well as direct access toGoogle street, aerial, and hybrid maps.
Designers who wish to register to use the DRS are directed to the IOC website (www.iowaonecall.com). There they can click on “Enter New Ticket On Line” which will take them to the Remote Access Page. Click on “Create a New Account.” Select “Register for the Design Request System” (left side of page). Fill in the required information and submit. Access will be granted in a matter of hours.
Should you have questions, concerns, or suggestions for improvements, please contact
515 278-8700 (P)
515 314-1469 (C)
Polk County Judge Penalizes West Des Moines Company for One Call Violation
According to a petition filed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a West Des Moines company was penalized $7,000 for violating the Iowa One Call statute by failing to notify the Iowa One Call Notification System prior to excavating. Click here for more information.
Important Information for Underground Facility Operators
Recent updates to the IMAP System provide underground facility operators with even greater control of their facilities mapping database. To learn more about a new and highly efficient method for reviewing and verifying the accuracy of your notification area and managing your database, please click on the following link: Reviewing Your Database.
Call Center Vendor Transition Update
The online ticket entry system “iTic”has replaced the former IBIS and ONTRY ticket entry systems. If you haven’t registered to use the iTic online ticket entry system, please do so here.