Page 8 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 3
P. 8

Wallace Jones
Changing of the Guard
Public Service Commission. But as
by Wallace Jones
Director, Gas Pipeline Safety Alabama Public Service Commission
the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” And that end is fast approaching. I will be retiring effective October 1, 2022 (long before this issue of Alabama 811 Magazine hits the stands). So, for many of you, this will be old news. For the rest of you, some might not know it, and the rest just might be like an old friend of mine in that “you don’t really give a doggone one way
or another”. But it is time for a new sheriff in town and for this old sheriff to step aside.
First, let me thank all those that I
have been associated with over the years that have worked so diligently
to improve damage prevention to
the underground infrastructure in Alabama. There have been many efforts over the years to work on this important issue in Alabama. The Alabama Underground Damage Prevention Alliance (ADPA) began the work several years ago. Meetings were held several times a year during those years and eventually ended up with the creation of the Alabama One-Call Study Commission. This “Commission” met for just over two years (2015 – 2018) and determined some changes were needed to the “Alabama One-Call Law” that had originally been codified in state
law in 1994. These changes included such things as a specific enforcement authority, mandatory membership, white-lining for projects and some other administrative changes.
The Alabama Underground Damage Prevention Authority (ALUDPA) was
t’s been a fun ride; over 14 years as the head of the Gas Pipeline Safety offices at the Alabama
created by the Alabama Legislature
in 2019. The ALUDPA became the enforcement authority that had been missing for so many years. Since its inception in January 2021, over three hundred complaints have been filed alleging violations of the “One-Call Law”. Many of these alleged violations have resulted in fines for not adhering to the “One -Call Law” and even more of the violators have been required
to attend online training sessions produced by Alabama 811. This is such an improvement over the previous years when no enforcement activities were evident in Alabama.
But this is just the beginning. Many parts of the “One-Call Law” still need
to be worked on and/or refined. And much more education about the ALUDPA needs to be disseminated to the general public in the state, as well as more educational opportunities for the operators, excavators and others that might be doing excavation activities in Alabama. Too many of the three hundred tickets mentioned previously were submitted due to work being performed with no locate ticket. This should not be the case. More effective use of the one-call system should be
a priority for all personnel working around underground facilities.
Keep up the good work and continue to improve excavation safety in Alabama. Don’t let this progress stop or slow down. Keep pushing to make Alabama a safer place to live, work and play. Let’s get everyone home safely each night. May God be with each of you every day and may you be blessed with a safe day and a safe return home to your families each night.
Good-bye from the retiree!!!
6 • Alabama 811
2022, Issue 3

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