Washington D.C, District of Columbia – April 30, 2020 – The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) today released a new report for industry leaders and public officials entitled ‘Improving Upon Our Dig Laws: Excavation Damage, Data, and Trends for Industry and Policymaker Analysis (2018 Data)’ analyzing the increasing excavation damage in recent years. 

The report highlights the urgency of recognizing the increase of damage incidents and how to improve the efficacy of the annual Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) reports. Aii addresses the insufficiency of “unknown” reporting and proposes how state and federal policymakers can make improvements regarding data collection. 

Click here to read the report. 

Setting irregular damage events aside, underground facilities running beneath the nation’s surface are at risk when excavators fail to adhere to best practices. When damage does occur, voluntary reporting does not provide an adequate record of the number and nature of incidents on the ground. Aii urges better implementation of laws already set in place to curb the number of incidents, but primarily encourages the deployment of innovative technologies and techniques, particularly Enhanced Positive Response, which the nation’s chief pipeline regulator (PHMSA) reported as leading to a 67 percent decrease in damage.

This new report encourages all states and the federal government to consider mandatory incident reporting to ensure future DIRT reports and federal databases have accurate excavation incident information; CGA should consider making more DIRT fields mandatory to improve data quality and work to expand reporting participation in low-reporting states, and limit future changes to root causes groupings, and data presentation to better facilitate year-to-year comparison of data.

Read the report here.

And our other Policy Studies here.


The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national, educational organization dedicated to identifying our nation’s infrastructure needs, creating awareness of those needs, and finding solutions to critical public policy challenges. Aii strives to promote proven, innovative technology and higher safety standards in a non-partisan manner to achieve excellence nationwide.