Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our Crumbling Infrastructure [aka Call Before You Dig]

[UPDATE: 01.10.09 - As mentioned, I recieved this as an email forward - one of those ubiquitous things that get pitched around in our digital age - thus had no context in which to verify the story. Thus, it turns out that the pics are from a corrosion-related rupture of the high pressure gas line along the Williams/Transco line north of the City of Appomattox, which occurred on September 14th of 2008. Apologies for the misinformation - but as I mentioned, one of those things that makes you wonder about our crumbling infrastructure, and you should still call and locate prior to doing any digging. Read more about it here. Also the pics are from a flickr photo stream from mattandashley - for proper attribution ...

...thanks to Dick for the comment pointing out the error - and thanks for the 7000+ visits for my stats - much appreciated - and not bad for a mistake!]

Call Before You Dig! - Original Post from 01.09.09
A colleague at work shot out the recent email with the caption above - showing the negative impacts of failing to locate subsurface utilities prior to digging.

The email, from an engineering firm, had the following text: "Take a look and see if “call before you dig” is a waste of time. These pictures are a result of mechanical post hole digging without calling for “locater service”. The employee hit an underground high pressure cross country gas pipe. Notice the point of contact was in the “middle of nowhere” of which some of your contractors may have used this very phrase."

:: point of impact - check out the scale on the 'crater'

The pics say it all...

Thanks Tim for the forward... yikes!


  1. Holy hell! That's pretty incredible. Took me a few seconds to realize that those little colorful things in the first picture are *people*.

  2. OK, I've always called julie.

    Where this be, wut date. Hiways and intersection.

    How many were killed and injured? The last photo shows a smoking foundation, did everyone make it out?

  3. Sorry, it was not a digger. It was corrosion. Fortunately only 5 were injured, and none killed.

  4. Dick.
    Thanks for the clarification... some interesting ramifications for our 'crumbling' infrastructure for sure. There was a great link showing all of the incidents along the pipeline.

    Good to hear only some injuries and no fatalities... and still a good idea to call before you dig :)

  5. I am an artist in residency at a facility just outside the town of Appomattox. The thunder of this incident caught my attention 10-20 miles away. There are a few videos on youtube showing the blaze. Whether due to material failure or human error this incident shows the destructive power of an explosion of this nature.

    The repercussions of this explosion thankfully bypassed the loss of life such an incident could have caused. But with 135+_ damage claims, two disintegrated homes and five injuries it certainly caused a impact.

    It looks like this local explosion caused a blip on the west coast radar. For those living and working in Appomattox, lets hope this small town can continue get recognized in the future without the fireball.

    Anyway, I read this blog on the regular. It was quite interesting to run across this post. I hadn't seen the images.

    Big thanks to Jason King and any unknown contributors for keeping up such an interesting blog.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.