Media Contact:

Aimee Milks






Town Takes Progressive Approach to Create a Safer Environment for its
Employees and Community

TOWN OF WALLKILL, NY (April 4, 2017) -- Town of Wallkill is the first municipality to certify their entire Department of Public Works staff with Dig Safely New York’s Certified Excavator Program in Safe Digging Best Practices.

Representatives from the Town of Wallkill, Dig Safely New York, Inc., and Orange and Rockland Utilities will be at the Town of Wallkill Community Center on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at 9:45 a.m. for a press conference regarding the Town’s accomplishment.

The Certified Excavator Program (CEP) is a new training standard developed by Dig Safely New York, Inc. to give class participants an in-depth look into the best practices and requirement for excavating around underground utilities under the New York State Business Law Code Rule 753, bringing critical safety understanding to professional excavators and operators.

“We adopted this safety training standard for our employees to empower them to be equipped with the knowledge of safe digging procedures that are both required by law and expected as recommended best practices,” said Lou Ingrassia, Commissioner of Public Works for the Town of Wallkill. “We feel that by enhancing our training and education, we are optimizing damage prevention, safety in the field, and productivity.”

The town took this aggressive approach on training to fulfill a Gold Shovel Standard training requirement that Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) has standardized in their third-party construction contracts. The Gold Shovel Standard is a national association that has created its own excavation safety program with a goal to dramatically reduce damages to buried infrastructure, by certifying an excavator’s policies and procedures against a set of excavator procedures designed to protect underground facilities, known as the Gold Shovel Standard. The association also publishes a rating, known as an EICO™ score, which is an ongoing measure of an excavator’s digging-safety-worthiness.

Orange and Rockland joined the Gold Shovel Standard in May 2016 in an effort to uphold the company’s commitment to safety for the communities it serves, their employees, and the third-party contractors the company hires to work on and around their assets. Employees at Orange and Rockland also participated in the Dig Safely New York Certified Excavator Program to fulfil their Gold Shovel Standard enrollment.

“We knew this was a necessary and important initiative to hold ourselves, our employees, and our contractors, to a higher safety standard. We strive to do everything possible to keep our communities safe and our assets protected. The Gold Shovel Standard is just another tool to ensure our commitment,” said Claudine Campbell-Whitehead, Section Manager - Damage Prevention & Compliance, for Orange and Rockland Utilities.

Dig Safely New York’s Certified Excavator Program was approved and recognized by the association as meeting the Gold Shovel Standard and is the first publically-offered training program available to be used towards enrollment in the Gold Shovel Standard.

“The Dig Safely New York Certified Excavator Program in Safe Digging Best Practices provides excavators with the opportunity to go through the intensive and interactive training, giving them the knowledge to make the right calls and take the correct safety precautions in the field when it comes to our underground infrastructure,” said Kevin Hopper, Executive Director for Dig Safely New York. “Having the entire Town of Wallkill Public Works Department certified through this program displays an unwavering commitment to safety and is setting an example for municipalities all over the state.”

Representatives at the press conference on Tuesday will include:

  • Lou Ingrassia, Commissioner of Public Works, Town of Wallkill
  • Kevin Hopper, Executive Director, Dig Safely New York, Inc.
  • John Yehl, Hudson Valley Field Representative, Dig Safely New York, Inc.
  • Glenn Meyers, General Manager – Gas Operations, Orange and Rockland
  • Claudine Campbell-Whitehead, Section Manager - Damage Prevention & Compliance, Orange and Rockland
  • Joseph Mandara, Section Manager -  Gas Operations Construction, Orange and Rockland
  • Frank Wassil, Field Operations Planner – Damage Prevention, Orange and Rockland
  • Daniel Fitzpatrick, Operating supervisor – Damage Prevention, Orange and Rockland


About Town of Wallkill

The Town of Wallkill which is located at the crossroads of Interstate Route 84 and Route 17 is one the largest Towns located in Orange County NY. The 64 square mile Town prides itself on a diverse mix of Industry, Retail and Residential living. The Town maintains of 167 Lane miles of road, and also over 100 miles of Water and Sewer infrastructure. The latest Town Population was listed at just over 29,000 residents, which easily doubles on a daily basis due to our location and the multiple Industrial and Retail opportunities in the Town.  The Town prides itself on economic development within the urban center of the Town, while also preserving its rural character.

About Dig Safely New York, Inc.

Dig Safely New York, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established to provide a connection between an individual (professional excavator or homeowner/do-it-yourselfer) and the underground utility operators. Since its inception in 1969, Dig Safely New York has remained committed to its mission – To prevent damages to underground facilities and protect the public through education and quality communication with excavators, underground facility operators, and designers in an efficient, courteous, and cost-effective manner, while complying with governing regulations.

Dig Safely New York is the only one-call center that serves all of New York State, with the exception of New York City and Long Island, which is served by NY811. For more than 46 years, Dig Safely New York has served as the state’s link between the underground utility operator and the excavator, contacting its member utility owners/operators affected by any planned excavator when given notice by the excavator. This allows for those utility operators to locate, mark-out, and protect any of their lines within the proposed job sites.

The decades have brought about change, as the organization has been constantly evolving everything except its purpose and core values, to create value and meet the needs of its members and stakeholders. As a small nonprofit, Dig Safely New York has been transitioning from solely a one-call center, to an organization that provides resources, education, technology tools and data to its members, stakeholders, and customers.

About Gold Shovel Standard

Gold Shovel Standard is a nonprofit association created for the purpose of expanding the Gold Shovel Standard program, which was originally pioneered by PG&E, to create a North American scale program, driven by industry and underpinned by data technology, to unify excavation safety under a single broadly meaningful professional brand, that raises the bar for excavation safety. Through peer-to-peer collaboration, and by monitoring the performance of individual excavators across networks and geographies, Gold Shovel Standard will be the first program capable of targeting incentives directly at specific excavation companies on a North American scale.