In Butler County, Nagel Construction LLC was ordered to pay $3500. During excavation to install a water line, a Nagel
trenching machine hit and damaged a 4-inch natural gas pipeline about seven miles southwest of Allison operated by
Northern Natural Gas. "The pipeline was dented, but fortunately it didn't break or explode," said Attorney General Tom
In Marshall County, Casey Crawford was ordered to pay a $500 penalty. Crawford's
trenching machine hit and severed a fiber optics line near State Center
owned by Qwest, disrupting phone service to customers in several central
Iowa counties.In both cases, the excavators failed to provide the required
48-hour notice prior to excavating.
"The One Call law protects the public and excavators alike from injury or death,"
Miller said. "It protects the environment and helps prevent disruptions.
We always emphasize that One Call is easy, it's fast, it's free, and it's
the law," he said. The Attorney General's Office has undertaken fourteen
enforcement actions in thirteen Iowa counties.
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Background on the One Call law, and details of the Butler and Marshall
BACKGROUND -- Iowa's "One Call" Law:
Iowa's One Call Center is reached at 1-800-292-8989, Miller said. It is located
in Davenport and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a
year. A team of about 50 customer service personnel handles over 40,000
calls a month during peak seasons. The One Call Center sends "locate requests"
immediately to utility companies, who are required within 48 hours to
mark underground utility locations with flags or paint showing where underground
lines are located.
Utility operators locate and mark underground facilities such as gas pipelines
and other lines providing electricity, communications, cable TV, water,
and sewer service.
Iowa's One Call law 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 (as in the Butler
Co. case), and up to $1,000 per day involving other underground facilities
(as in Marshall Co.)
Details -- BUTLER COUNTY Case:
District Court Judge James M. Drew entered an order today in Butler Co. District
Court imposing a $3500 civil penalty and permanent injunction against
Nagel Construction, LLC. The State lawsuit alleged Nagel made the One
Call notification April 29, 2003, but then began excavating the next day
-- before underground lines were marked -- to install a rural water main
for the Central Iowa Rural Water District. The trenching machine struck
the 4-inch-diameter Northern Natural Gas pipeline known as the Bristow
Branch, which delivers natural gas from Northern's main regional pipeline
to Allison, Aplington, Bristow, Dumont, Kesley, Parkersburg and Holland.
The pipeline was dented but did not break or explode. Northern was able
to install a bypass later and there was no disruption of service. The
lawsuit noted the alleged cost of repairs exceeded $37,000. (Compensation
for repairs or damages is a matter between the private parties involved.)
Details -- MARSHALL COUNTY Case:
Earlier this month, Marshall County District Court Judge Michael J. Moon entered
an order imposing a $500 civil penalty and a permanent injunction against
Casey Crawford, doing business as Casey Crawford Trenching, for failure
to provide 48 hours' notice prior to commencing an excavation in December
2002 to install a water line about two miles west of State Center. Although
no natural gas pipeline was in the vicinity, Crawford's trenching machine
hit and severed a fiber optics line owned by Qwest. The State lawsuit
alleged that emergency 911 service was interrupted in certain areas and
had to be rerouted, and that 94,929 phone calls were blocked by the line
break. According to the suit, the buried, four-strand fiber optic line
carried voice, analog, and digital communications for 16,239 phone lines,
1,002 trunk lines, and emergency 911 service in several central Iowa counties.
The line was down for three hours and forty-five minutes before it was
repaired by Qwest at a cost estimated at over $5,600.
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