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Geoff Greenwood, Communications Director
515-281-6699, geoff.greenwood@iowa.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 23, 2013

Miller Files One Call Lawsuits

Excavators in four counties damaged natural gas lines and
an electrical line, failed to provide Iowa One Call notice

(DES MOINES, Iowa)  Attorney General Tom Miller filed lawsuits against four contractors who allegedly damaged natural gas and electrical lines during excavations without first notifying Iowa One Call.

The suits, filed Friday, allege six illegal excavations in Linn, Polk, Scott, and Warren Counties.

Miller alleges excavators failed to provide 48 hours’ notice before excavating so that Iowa One Call could locate and mark the underground lines.

In five cases, equipment hit and damaged natural gas pipelines, causing the release of natural gas.  In one case, equipment hit but did not damage the natural gas pipeline, and instead severed an electrical line. 

Natural gas is flammable and highly explosive.  Fortunately, no explosions occurred and there were no injuries.  Hitting an underground electrical line can cause power outages and can shock or even kill equipment operators.

The natural gas pipelines and electrical line are owned and operated by MidAmerican Energy.

The defendants have entered into consent decrees assessing civil penalties and permanently enjoining them from further violations of the One Call law.  On Friday, Miller submitted the consent decrees for court approval.

Rain Pro Inc.
Pursuant to the consent decree, if approved by the Court, Rain Pro Inc., of Pleasant Hill, will pay a $10,000 civil penalty and be permanently enjoined from further violations of the One Call law.

  • On June 26, 2013, Rain Pro, Inc. conducted an excavation to install an irrigation line at 450 66th Court in West Des Moines.  Rain Pro did not contact the One Call Notification Center regarding the excavation.  While conducting the excavation, the company’s equipment hit and damaged an underground ½-inch diameter natural gas pipeline.  Natural gas was released but did not explode.  Rather than immediately notifying the pipeline company, the company instead attempted a crude but unsuccessful repair to the natural gas pipeline using two hose clamps.  MidAmerican Energy was subsequently notified and repaired the damaged pipeline.
  • On August 20, 2013, Rain Pro, Inc. conducted an excavation to install an irrigation line at 1106 N.E. Vicksburg Drive, Ankeny, Iowa.  The company did not contact the One Call Notification Center regarding the excavation.  While conducting the excavation, the defendant’s equipment hit and damaged an underground ½-inch diameter natural gas pipeline.  Natural gas was released but did not explode.   MidAmerican Energy was notified and repaired the damaged pipeline.
  • On October 26, 2013, Rain Pro, Inc. conducted an excavation to install a sprinkler system at 1905 Normandy Drive in Carlisle.  The defendant did not contact the One Call Notification Center regarding the excavation.  While conducting the excavation, the defendant’s equipment hit and scuffed, but did not damage, an underground 2-inch diameter natural gas pipeline.  Equipment hit and severed a 240-volt electrical line.  MidAmerican Energy was notified and repaired the damaged electrical line.

 

Click here for Rain Pro petition
Click here for proposed Rain Pro consent decree

Eagle Ridge L.C.
Pursuant to the consent decree, if approved by the Court, Eagle Ridge L.C., of Marion, will pay a $3,500 civil penalty and be permanently enjoined from further violations of the One Call law.

  • On August 26, 2013, Eagle Ridge, L.C. conducted an excavation to repair a water leak at 1380 Red Fox Way in Marion.  The defendant did not contact the One Call Notification Center regarding the excavation.  While conducting the excavation, the defendant’s equipment hit and damaged an underground ½-inch diameter natural gas pipeline.  Natural gas was released but did not explode.   MidAmerican Energy was notified and repaired the damaged pipeline.

 

Click here for Eagle Ridge petition
Click here for proposed Eagle Ridge consent decree

Carl B. Durham, Sr. d/b/a Durham Remodeling & Repair
Pursuant to the consent decree, if approved by the Court, Carl B. Durham, of Rock Island, Illinois, will pay a $3,500 civil penalty and be permanently enjoined from further violations of the One Call law.

  • On February 15, 2013, the defendant conducted an excavation to install a steel post in front of a propane tank rack at a gasoline station located at 2620 Central Avenue, in Bettendorf.  The defendant did not contact the One Call Notification Center regarding the excavation.  While conducting the excavation, the defendant’s equipment hit and damaged an underground one-inch diameter natural gas pipeline.  Natural gas was released but did not explode.   MidAmerican Energy was notified and repaired the damaged pipeline.

 

Click here for Durham petition
Click here for proposed Durham consent decree

Ron Oxford d/b/a Oxford Ditching
Pursuant to the consent decree, if approved by the Court, Ron Oxford will pay a $3,000 civil penalty and be permanently enjoined from further violations of the One Call law.

  • On September 3, 2013, the defendant conducted an excavation to install drainage tile at 2751 Deer Creek Trail, Urbandale, Iowa.  The defendant did not contact the One Call Notification Center regarding the excavation and, thereby, failed to provide notices to operators of underground facilities.  While conducting the excavation, the defendant’s equipment hit and damaged an underground one-inch diameter natural gas pipeline.  Natural gas was released but did not explode.   MidAmerican Energy was notified and repaired the damaged pipeline.

 

Click here for Oxford petition
Click here for proposed Oxford consent decree

Background on Iowa’s One Call Law
Iowa’s One Call Center, at 1-800-292-8989, or 811, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  The center handles more than 50,000 calls a month during peak seasons.  Iowa One Call sends "locate requests" immediately to utility companies, which are required to mark underground utility locations within 48 hours with flags or paint showing where underground lines are located. 

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 handles more than 400,000 incoming calls, and coordinates more than two million underground facility "locates" in Iowa.

Iowa’s One Call law (Iowa Code Ch. 480) has been in effect since 1993.  Iowa One Call is paid for by owners and operators of pipelines and other underground facilities.  Services provided by Iowa One Call are free 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 day involving other underground facilities.  Violators also may be liable for the repair costs of damaged facilities.

For more information about Iowa One Call, contact Ben Booth, Iowa One Call Public Relations/Communications Manager, at 515-278-8700 (work), or 515-707-3998 (cell), or benbooth@netins.net.

The Iowa One Call website is: www.iowaonecall.com.

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