CONTACT: Geoff Greenwood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2010
(DES MOINES, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller today announced Iowa One Call law enforcement actions in four counties. Four separate lawsuits involve excavations conducted in the vicinity of natural gas or hazardous liquids pipelines, without first providing required notice of the planned excavations and having the pipelines located and marked.
“We allege that these defendants did not do what the law required of them before excavating. That threatened the integrity of gas or hazardous materials pipelines, it could have jeopardized the safety of these crews, and it could have been an expensive and inconvenient service disruption to the public,” Miller said. “Iowa’s One Call law is simple. You call before you dig.”
Iowa law requires that any person, homeowner, professional, public or private entity, planning to engage in any form of excavation within the state of Iowa, must notify the Iowa One Call notification system, at 1-800-292-8989 or 811, at least 48 hours prior to excavating.
The One Call law authorizes civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day of violation, plus injunctive relief. Miller’s office has resolved the suits with each of the defendants, subject to court approval of the proposed consent decrees.
Mills County - David Dreyer d/b/a Dreyer AG
On October 27, 2009, David Dreyer d/b/a Dreyer AG conducted an excavation with a bulldozer and trenching equipment to install terraces and drainage tile without providing 48-hours notice of the planned excavation and having underground facilities located and marked. The defendant’s trenching equipment crossed over a 26-inch diameter natural gas pipeline and a 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline, both under 425 psi pressure, hitting and gouging the latter pipeline requiring repairs. Under the consent decree issued Monday, Dreyer will pay a $7,000 civil penalty and be enjoined against further violations.
Buchanan County - David W. Recker Excavating, L.L.C.
On December 1, 2009, David W. Recker Excavating, L.L.C. conducted an excavation with a bulldozer to reshape a waterway without providing 48-hours notice of the planned excavation and having underground facilities located and marked. The defendant’s bulldozer crossed directly over a 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline under 1926 psi pressure and within 50 feet of a 12-inch diameter hazardous liquids pipeline under 600 psi pressure. Under the proposed consent decree, Recker will pay a $5,000 civil penalty and be enjoined against further violations.
Sioux County - Dan Fedders
On June 30, 2009, Dan Fedders conducted an excavation to install new fencing without providing 48-hours notice of the planned excavation and having underground facilities located and marked. The defendant’s equipment came to within nine inches of a 12-inch diameter hazardous liquids pipeline under several hundred pounds of pressure per square inch. Under the consent decree issued Monday, Fedders will pay a $3,000 civil penalty and be enjoined against further violations.
Winnebago County - Ron Redenious
On April 27, 2010, Ron Redenius conducted an excavation with a backhoe to repair tile lines without providing 48-hours notice of the planned excavation and having underground facilities located and marked. The defendant’s backhoe came to within 50 inches of a three-inch diameter natural gas pipeline and within 25 feet of another three-inch diameter natural gas pipeline, both under 475 psi pressure. Under the proposed consent decree, Redenius will pay a $3,000 civil penalty and be enjoined against further violations.
Background on Iowa’s "One Call" Law:
Iowa’s OneCallCenter is reached at 1-800-292-8989, or via the national 811 number. It is located in Davenport and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Customer service personnel handle more than 50,000 calls a month during peak seasons. The OneCallCenter sends "locate requests" immediately to utility companies, who are required to mark underground utility locations within 48 hours with flags or paint showing where underground lines are located. The One Call web site is: http://www.iowaonecall.com.
Utility operators locate and mark underground facilities such as gas, hazardous liquids, communications, electric, cable TV, water, and sewer lines. Each year, Iowa One Call personnel handle more than 400,000 incoming calls, and coordinate more than two million underground facility "locates" in Iowa.
Iowa’s One Call law (Iowa Code Ch. 480) has been in effect since 1993. The Iowa One Call operation is paid-for by owners and operators of pipelines and other underground facilities. Services provided by Iowa One Call are free of charge to 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 day involving other underground facilities. Violators also may be liable for the repair costs of damaged facilities.