Two central Iowa companies have been slapped with fines for failing to comply with the “Iowa One Call” law. The law requires people to call the Iowa One Call Notification center before conducting excavations.
On October 28, 2011, Tony Morris of T Morris Trenching of Maxwell used a bulldozer to assist in the site preparation for installation of drainage tile. Six to 12 inches of soil were removed directly above a gas pipeline. Crews did not contact the Iowa One Call Notification Center first to have underground facilities located and marked.
On the same day, Larson Agriproducts conducted excavations with a drainage plow in the same area without contacting the Iowa One Call Notification Center. During the excavations, the drainage plow hit and damaged the gas pipeline.
The pipeline released natural gas. An evacuation of the area was ordered as emergency response crews worked to make repairs. Northern Natural Gas, the Story County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa State Patrol, the Huxley city fire department, Story County Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross all responded.
Story County District Court Judge Kurt. J. Stoebe assessed a $7,000 civil penalty against Larson Agriproducts and assessed a $5,000 civil penalty against Tony Morris.
Iowa’s One Call Center can be reached by calling 1-800-292-8989 or via the national 811 number. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The service is offered free of charge to homeowners, contractors, and professional excavators. Violators are subject to a civil penalty up to $10,000 per day for violations related to natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines and up to $1,000 per cay involving other underground facilities.
Violators can also be held liable for the repair costs of damaged facilities.
Nebraska has a similar law. The number for the Diggers Hotline of Nebraska is 1-800-331-5666 or in the Omaha metro area it's 402-344-3565.