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Alternate Locate Agreement (ALA)

Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2014

As a leading provider of hydro vac excavation services throughout Ontario, it is necessary for Super Sucker Hydro Vacuum Truck Services  to have locates when digging.  However, this does not always mean we need to have traditional field locates.  With many of the province’s larger underground facility owners, we have established an alternate arrangement – an Alternate Locate Agreement, often referred to as an “ALA”.  To help explain what this is and how it works, we have developed a frequently asked questions document.  We hope this helps make this innovative process a bit clearer for our clients and the public.

What exactly is an Alternate Locate Agreement (ALA)?

An ALA is a legal agreement, between plant/facility owner and an excavator, outlining the conditions and terms, agreed to by both parties, whereby the indicated excavator can safely proceed without a traditional field locate, aka “paint on the ground”,  when using a specific method of excavation (hydro vac), for low risk work.  The documentation contains information regarding excavation methods and procedures that must be followed, as well as details surrounding “allowable work”.  As a legal agreement, there is a start date, term limit, and an expiration date indicated, and contains termination, insurance, and legal liability clauses.

What does this Alternate Locate Agreement (ALA) allow the excavator to do with respect to our underground facilities?

The “allowable work” component of the agreement is outlined in the document’s Schedule “A”.  This section lists the specific criteria under which the excavator can proceed without obtaining a traditional field locate.  This includes the method of excavation – in our case it is hydro vac excavation – as well as excavation specifications, and industry guidelines and best practices to be followed.

Hydro vac excavation is an acknowledged safe digging, low risk excavation method when following industry best practices.  As the ALA grants the facility owner the ability to audit and revoke the agreement, it is in the best interest of the hydro vac excavator to employ strict operation procedures to ensure compliance.

As a facility owner, why should we sign an Alternate Locate Agreement?  What are the benefits?

An ALA benefits both the utility plant owner and the excavator.  You can reduce the number of unnecessary locate requests in the situations where we are excavating with hydro vac, reducing your locate service provider (LSP) cost substantially.  ALAs also reduce your paperwork load and administrative costs. We benefit as we can get to work quicker and more efficiently.   Bottom line:  ALAs save utility owners money.

Does an Alternate Locate Agreement increase our risk of damage to underground infrastructure?

In the past, some utility owners have expressed concerns related to potential plant damage. However, according to research undertaken by ON1Call, there has been no damage increase related to the correct use of an ALA.

As an organization, ON1Call is encouraging all facility owners to use ALAs to reduce the workload for the entire damage prevention industry.


Have more questions about Alternate Locate Agreements (ALAs)?  Please send us an email at (please reference ALA in the subject line).  We will make sure the right person gets you the right answer.

If I should die think only this… A bullet flew by that did not miss.

Posted on Monday, November 10th, 2014

Canada remembers banner

What story of the war is told?
Romance bright or horror cold?
Triumph’s tale or tragic loss,
the iron or the wooden cross?
Lost lament or victor’s boast?
Full brass band or lone last post?
Heroes, villains, cowards, kings?
It’s war… it’s all these things.

It’s us unleashed for good and ill,
the gallant heart, the savage will.
A Kaiser’s pride, a nation’s fear,
a global greed, it’s all in here.

What causes war, the old book asks?
Beyond the history, beneath the masks,
There grows a want, becomes a will,
demands our way, prepares to kill.

The war we mark as long ago,
is close to home, it’s all we know.
What ceases war? The pressing question.
What can halt inborn aggression?
To end all wars and retribution –
war itself is no solution.

Can terror end all terror now?
Brute force subdue itself and bow?
Can darkness drive out darkened dread?
Or death extinguish death instead?

We need to interrupt the spiral.
A healing antiretroviral.
The story’s told of an Anti-Zeus –
A God of Peace turned Human Truce.
Into our world, into our midst –
a walking, talking armistice.

A King made meek, a power made weak,
to stand and turn the other cheek,
to take the blow, absorb disgrace,
and rise to give again His face.
In grace undimmed and arms unfurled,
to bless and pacify the world…

…and you – to sweet surrender brought,
forgiveness for your battles fought,
a peace to pass to every soul,
then warfare ceased from pole to pole.

by Glen Scrivener

“The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9