Historically, the tracking of damages to buried facilities has not been consistent and its focus has been more on recovering damage repair costs than as a proactive operation’s tool to reduce the likelihood of similar damages recurring.
All operators of buried facilities should to be concerned about preventing damage to their facilities in order to preserve the integrity of their systems. Consistently gathered and managed damage incident information can be a very important tool in developing effective damage prevention programs.
Answers to the following questions to help you understand and appreciate why organizations like CGA Common Ground Alliance and 811 have joined forces with many other North American states and provinces in promoting the use of DIRT within their respective organizations.
  • How many damages to buried facilities occur each year?
  • What types of buried facilities are damaged most frequently?
  • What are the common apparent causes of damages?
  • Are annual damage incidents increasing or decreasing and by how much?
  • Are some educational/public awareness programs more effective than others and why?
In order to reduce or prevent damages to buried facilities, it is necessary to establish some benchmarks for future reference, analyze the current situation in terms of who, what, when, where, why and how, develop strategies in response to the analyses, communicate the strategies to the digging community, monitor the effectiveness of the strategies and fine tune them from time to time to achieve the desired results.
The collection of meaningful damage incident information needs to be done consistently, with minimal subjectivity and in a format that is user friendly and will accept reports from any party involved in a damage incident – the facility operator, the locator, the ground disturber or the regulator.
The data is not collected for enforcement purposes!
Damage incident information that is collected in a consistent format can be aggregated provincially, nationally and across North American to provide talking points in submissions to government with respect to improved damage prevention regulation and enhanced enforcement processes.

What is DIRT

DIRT (Damage Information Reporting Tool) was developed by the Common Ground Alliance and launched in November 2003 as a secure web site application for the reporting and collecting of buried facility damage incident information.
Since its inception, the number of records submitted to DIRT each year has increased steadily. The aggregated information extracted from the reports allows the CGA to identify and report on North American trends in damages to buried facilities to industry.
The CGA has been publishing annual DIRT reports since 2004. They are prepared by statisticians retained to analyze the aggregated data according to standard statistical analysis procedures. The DIRT reports can be accessed through www.commongroundalliance.com. Click on DIRT (Data Reporting).
To enhance the benefits of DIRT to individual buried facility operators, facility operator associations, state and provincial one-call centres and Regional Partners of the Common Ground Alliance, the CGA introduced Virtual Private DIRT (VPD). VPD is a customized version of DIRT that allows the addition of additional fields to enhance the value of the data collected. The ABCGA has opted to subscribe to VPD.

Register as a DIRT user

Any ground disturber or operator of buried facilities can, and should, report damage incidents or near miss events.
To register as a DIRT user, go to www.cga-dirt.com, click on “register”, then select “Alberta Virtual Private DIRT”. After the ABCGA has approved your registration, you will be able to report single events or upload files containing multiple events.

Reporting a single event

To report a single event, logon to DIRT at  www.cga-dirt.com and select “Damage Report” and fill in all appropriate fields. Please note that fields labeled in red are required.

Reporting multiple events

To upload a file containing multiple event reports, logon to the www.cga-dirt.com and select “File Upload’. Select the specifications of your file and press the appropriate “Submit File” button. If any of the fields are filled out incorrectly, DIRT will indicate which fields are incorrect.

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