News

The Utility Notification Center of Colorado
Firestone explosion an unfortunate reminder excavation laws need updating

Firestone explosion an unfortunate reminder excavation laws need updating

Most people don’t think about excavation until a construction project increases noise levels in their neighborhood or lengthens their morning commute. Unfortunately, when a major event that captures the public’s attention — like the April 17 explosion in Firestone — occurs, it’s too late.

The scary thing is most states, including Colorado, have yet to adopt “damage prevention” laws — the laws that govern the processes and procedures surrounding excavation — adequate to prevent these incidents, despite evidence that strict governmental enforcement and enhanced communication capabilities would have an outsized impact on safety.

According to The Denver Post, “nearly 1,300 gas pipelines in Colorado were damaged during excavation” in 2015. Yet, no civil penalties or sanctions were issued by the state that year. The U.S. Department of Transportation made note of that fact in a letter to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission last summer, writing that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration “encourages Colorado damage prevention stakeholders to work with policy makers to pass legislation that addresses the inadequacies in the state’s excavation damage prevention program.”

The best place to start is enforcement. Please note that ‘Colorado Call Before you Dig’ requires everyone to call 811 before any type of digging project.

Read the original article here: Firestone explosion an unfortunate reminder excavation laws need updating http://dpo.st/2sjbFfy

Read More

By Harriet
Home ‘Excavation Safety Day’ combines area emergency personnel




Similar to Colorado utility locate services, this demonstration showed off why it is so important to always call 811. 

First responders and utility, oil and gas and Kerr County personnel joined together June 15 for the “Hill Country Excavation Day” and took part in dynamic hands-on scenario safety training. A key point throughout the training was use of the State of Texas’ nonprofit service to “call 811 before you dig to get underground utilities located for free.”

This event was open to the public, and some participating adults brought their children to see the events.

A demonstration was provided by Kerrville Public Utility Board personnel in a highly visible “arc and spark” event, to highlight the dangers of working around live electricity, downed power lines and other dangerous situations.

The KPUB presentation included information that crew members are supposed to wear a hardhat, a high-visibility vest, safety glasses, steel-toed or sturdy workboots, earplugs and gloves. Flame-resistant long-sleeved shirts also were stressed; and combining all that means it’s always hot work. Professionals aren’t allowed to dress for the hot weather and work in sleeveless t-shirts and no protection anymore.

The KPUB demonstration included hitting a series of objects with live electricity to show how easily almost anything will conduct electricity.

They started with a live wire, and progressed to a section of cyclone fence, an aluminum ladder, a hot dog to mimic the water content of a human body, a piece of cotton t-shirt and part of a tree limb. All allowed arcs of electricity to flash between the source and through the common objects.

Read the full article here: ‘Excavation Safety Day’ combines area emergency personnel http://bit.ly/2sAeiNw

Read More

By Harriet
Colorado’s bears are awake. Here’s how to keep yourself — and them — safe


If you are planning a weekend digging project of course, call utility location services (811), but if you plan to go up into the mountains, you might want to read this first! 

Whether they are raiding apartments in Vail, trashing cars in Aspen or Steamboat Springs, or disrupting foot races in Boulder or Colorado Springs, Colorado bears are out in full force. The weather is warming up and as the rising human population encroaches into bear territory, interactions between humans and bruins are becoming increasingly common.

But there are things you can do to reduce potential conflict. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill offered some of the best ways to keep you, your belongings and the bears safe, whether you live in bear country or you’re just visiting during the summer months.

Camping/hiking in bear country

  • If a campground provides bear boxes to stow your food and other items, like toothpaste, that smell delicious to bears, the likelihood of a bear showing up to search for a food reward in pretty high. “There are bear boxes at campsites,” Churchill said. “Use them!”
  • Buy a bear-resistant cooler. “They’re pricey and many people won’t want to make the commitment, but they will save your car from bears,” Churchill said.
  • Hide your food out of plain sight, in a locked car. “As a last resort, lock your food up in a car/trunk. If you’re in the backcountry it is recommended that you hang your food far up high between trees in a bag,” Churchill said.
  • Keep your sleeping areas clean. “Don’t bring anything in the tent with a scent,” Churchill said. “No toothpaste, food, deodorant. Don’t wear the clothes you cooked in, keep them with your food.”
  • Keep your kids safe. “Teach your kids how to treat and interact with wildlife or any animals they don’t know,” Churchill said. “We have a SMART sheet on our website to teach kids what to do when they encounter wildlife.”
  • Having a healthy fear of bears not only keeps you safe, but also keeps them alive. “The more folks we have in Colorado, the more visitors, they don’t do the right things and chase them off. It’s great to get cool photos of wildlife, but if a bear, or any wildlife, is changing it’s behavior, you’re too close,” she said.

Colorado’s bears are awake. Here’s how to keep yourself — and them — safe http://dpo.st/2rBC7R7

Read More

By Harriet
Questions We Can Answer About Colorado’s Order To Inspect Wells And Flowlines


Questions We Can Answer About Colorado’s Order To Inspect Wells And Flowlines

An April 17 home explosion in Firestone, Colorado, that killed two and hospitalized a third, has been traced back to an abandoned flowline that bled off gas from a nearby wellhead into the soil next to the home’s foundation.

The incident prompted an initial voluntary shutdown of wells from three operators, renewed attention to the friction between expanding urban areas and oil and gas development, and an order from Gov. John Hickenlooper for oil and gas operators to inspect active and abandoned flowlines.

Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District investigators concluded May 2 that the flowline was improperly abandoned, meaning it wasn’t capped at both the well end and the far end of the line. The well was inactive for some time. When it was brought back into production in January 2017, methane and propane seeped into the soil near the home of Mark and Erin Martinez from the uncapped line. The gas moved from the soil into the home through a French Drain and sump pit, according to investigators. In contrast to leaking utility pipelines which contain the rotten egg smell — mercaptan — this gas was unscented.

If homeowners are planning to dig underground, they should dial 811, or go to Colorado 811. The nonprofit has a computer system that routes the request to the proper company, including utilities, cable providers and oil and gas operators. They have three days to process the request. If there are lines that homeowners needs to steer clear of, it’s the company’s responsibility to mark on the property where they are. Always remember to call before you dig. 

“We never want anybody out there excavating without having the proper locations out there,” said Colorado 811 Chief Executive Officer J.D. Maniscalco. “If they are ever in doubt. Call us back. Ask for a second notice to be sent.”

READ MORE: 7 Questions We Can Answer About Colorado’s Order To Inspect Wells And Flowlines http://bit.ly/2rNex7z 

 


Read More

By Harriet
What to Consider When Selecting the Most Unique Landscaping Ideas for Colorado

 

traditional-landscapeBought a home in Colorado and don’t know what to do with your sizable new yard? There are countless examples of houses that have been completely transformed through simple landscaping tricks. Whether you want a classy garden, lots of oxygen-giving trees or stone structures and walkways that are completely out of this world, the best Colorado landscaping experts will be able to help you out.

 

The Most Popular Landscaping Ideas for Colorado

 

Compared to other states, Colorado is somewhat trickier for landscaping professionals, since there are many regulations pertaining to the climatic and geographic circumstances associated with the landscaping projects in the area. From high altitudes, to low precipitation, to extreme cold weather, there are many factors that could lead to experts pulling the plug on many of your ideas.

 

So what’s left to consider? As it turns out, you can actually opt for a diverse and imaginative range of landscaping elements you can consider for your projects:

 

  • Vegetables and herbs is definitely bigger today than it used to be. As a landscaping solution, it has caught on in Colorado, and you can now ask landscaping experts to incorporate unusual

herbs into your potted plants and add basil, kale or thyme to your flowering garden.

  • Outdoor living and exterior lighting is a growing trend as Colorado residents continue to expand their outdoor living areas. You can opt for stylish, natural looking outdoor furniture combined with “dark sky” lighting that reduces pollution and allows you to stargaze more easily.
  • Xeriscaping is also a growing trend that shows much more promise today than in recent years. Now xeriscaping is all about groundcovers, colorful flowers and beautiful trees, as well as the addition of texture and color to the smart use of water.

 

Hiring a Qualified Landscaping Contractor

 

Landscaping is only easy when conducted by licensed, highly professional and highly experienced local Colorado experts.

 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your landscaping deal, consider landscaping contractors that have at least 5-10 years of experience in the business, and can provide you with copies of their license, insurance policies and testimonials from satisfied customers who have used their services in the past.

Before you landscape, call 811 to find underground cables, wires and pipes.

Read More

By Harriet
Denver Metro DPC Excavator Fiesta
Join the Denver Metro Damage Prevention Council for their Excavator Fiesta on Thursday June 29th from 1 – 4pm at the Lamar Street Center for a presentation on vacuum excavating and a high voltage demonstration.

RSVP to Anthony Joosten at AJoosten@teamwl.com

Fiesta Flyer

Read More

By Whitney Cregger
COMMUNICATIONS OUTAGE NOTICE

COMMUNICATIONS OUTAGE NOTICE

We are currently experiencing a communications system outage (with 811). We are diligently working to resolve this issue. At this time we ask all callers to utilize Ticket Express or Web Ticket Entry to submit ticket requests.
If you have an emergency or damage ticket, please note that information in the marking instructions box.

Outage Update (10:30 am): Our phone system (811) is online and available. Thank you for your patience! 

Read More

By Whitney Cregger
811 Run 2017 – Apex Center in Arvada, CO

Smaller Poster

REGISTER HERE

Description

What: The 811 Run is a 5k run/walk and public awareness event to highlight the safety message – Know What’s Below. Contact 811 before you dig.

When: August 12th 2017 @ 8:11am 

Where: Apex Center in Arvada, CO (13150 W 72nd Ave, Arvada, CO 80005)

Cost: $8.11

This certified 5k run is only $8.11 and takes place at the Apex Center in Arvada, CO. Tech running shirts are included with registration. This family friendly (including your four-legged furry family members) run/walk will start at 8:11 a.m. and will have a post-run safety expo that will include utility companies, Arvada Fire, safety demonstrations, music, prizes and other giveaways.

Course Map

2017 811 Run Course Map

REGISTER HERE

Sponsorship Information

811 Run Sponsor Graphic

We are now accepting sponsors for the 811 Run, download the sponsorship packet here. For questions regarding sponsorship opportunities, please contact Marty Mead at mtmead@co811.org.

We look forward to seeing you there! To see photos from the 2016 811 Run, click here.

Veterans Expeditions

All funds raised from the 2017 811 Run will be donated to Veterans ExpeditionsVeterans-Expeditions-Logo-01

VetEx is a veteran-run, veteran-led non-profit that uses wilderness challenges to connect veterans, create community, build self-esteem and raise awareness about the issues facing veterans as they transition back to civilian life.

REGISTER HERE

Read More

By vmaniscalco
Western Slope Damage Prevention Golf Tournament
 Friday, June 23, 2017 – Adobe Creek Golf CourseWestern Slope DPC Golf Image

The Western Slope Damage Prevention Council  invites you to join them for their 6th Annual Damage Prevention Golf Tournament on Friday, June 23, 2017. Hole Sponsorships go to support the Western Slope Damage Prevention Council and all proceeds for Mulligan sales will be donated to Kids Aid and The House. Cash prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams.

Player Info:

  • Registration begins at 7 am Shotgun Tournament Begins at 8 am
  • Lunch is included Team of 4 – $300
  • Individual Player – $75
  • Mulligans – $5.00 each (maximum 3 per player)

Click here to register online

Sponsor Info:

  • Hole Sponsorship – $150 per hole
  • Beverage Cart Sponsorship – $125

For questions, please contact Julie at Julie.fobare@encana.com or 970-309-7838 and Linda at lschroder@utewater.org or 970-256-2880.

Download the flyer here.

Read More

By Whitney Cregger
COMMUNICATIONS OUTAGE NOTICE

COMMUNICATIONS OUTAGE NOTICE

We are currently experiencing a communications system outage. We are diligently working to resolve this issue. At this time we ask all callers to utilize Ticket Express or Web Ticket Entry to submit ticket requests.
If you have an emergency or damage ticket, please note that information in the marking instructions box.

Communications Outage Notice Update: (11:50am) 811 is back up and running, thank you for your patience!

Read More

By Whitney Cregger