Progress Made In Crossbore Avoidance, Discovery

Dealing With Crossbores
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | August 2010 Vol. 65 No. 8

Bruce observes that awareness of crossbore issues is increasing, and points out that the Minnesota alert and guidelines are not the only recent initiatives that document the change. The Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District recently requested bids from inspection companies to inspect for crossbores and determine the condition of their assets. Gas distribution utilities are becoming widely aware of the risks and the risk avoidance practices that are available. Duke Energy is working with the sewer operators to combine efforts to achieve cost effective solutions.

For several years, the Miller Pipeline Corp., Indianapolis, IN, has implemented a program in which Miller crews locate, inspect and mark sewer laterals in areas where construction is scheduled.

Miller President Kevin Miller said “without a doubt” there is greater awareness of crossbore issues than two or three years ago.

“I think,” he said, “many more gas companies, municipalities, plumbers and installation contractors are aware of the situation today for several reasons. First of all, there have been a few unfortunate incidents in the last two years, increasing public awareness of the danger. Secondly, there has been a good push in the industry to ‘get the word out.’ Several of the gas associations have put on educational programs for their members. Some contractors have made presentations to various associations and utility owners. Several industry magazines have helped to keep this issue at the forefront. The Cross Bore Safety Association was established and is actively working to increase awareness.”

Miller said he sees results on job sites.

“In areas where we work, most gas companies, along with their contractors, are taking on the responsibility to prevent crossbores,” he said. “Locating sewer laterals is starting to be recognized as part of the defined scope of work in many contracts.

“A few of our customers have changed their procedures to require post-bore verification that a crossbore didn’t occur. Several companies have expanded their lines of provided services to address crossbore issues.”

People have heard the message and now recognize the risks associated with boring without knowing where the laterals are, he said.

“The industry has gained a lot of knowledge over the last few years, and that should greatly reduce the risk of crossbores going forward.” Miller added.

In the short term, Miller believes utility owners must recognize the risks of installing
facilities without locating sewer laterals and should require lateral locates in their specifications.