Underground utilities: Reforming the killer below?

As folks in San Francisco can tell you, if it's underground, it can still kill you and a lot of others. Last year, an underground gas line ruptured, killing four and destroying 38 homes.

This is something which has almost happened in South Carolina numerous times, often when construction crews barely miss a gas line which has been unmarked by utility locators. To the right is a photo of one such incident which took place in Mount Pleasant (in the districts of Sen. Campsen and Rep. Sotille).

South Carolina's laws regarding underground utility damage prevention were passed in 1978. It's 2010, and these laws are way behind the times, forcing yours truly and representatives from other construction general contractors to spearhead an effort to get these laws updated.

Last year's Senate Bill 1068 was followed by an effort to develop a consensus bill which would incorporate input from various stakeholder groups, guided by the best practices advocated by the national Common Ground Alliance.

If you want to read more about this lurking danger, there's more. You can also follow these reform efforts via Facebook as well as on Twitter. We encourage you to sign up for both and keep informed.

The first of two scheduled meetings took place Friday at the Gressette Senate office building, with another round tentatively scheduled Monday, depending on the weather.

This issue is pretty important. So please stay tuned and we'll let you know how it's going.

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