Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release - Monday, November 25, 2002.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Three Eastern Iowa Excavators
Pay Penalty for "One Call" Violations

Manchester.. A Northeast Iowa drainage tile contractor that punctured a BP hazardous liquids pipeline and caused an estimated half million dollar cost for repair and remediation has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of $15,000 for violating Iowa's "One Call" law.

Attorney General Tom Miller said it is the largest civil penalty so far for violation of the "One Call" law - which requires at least 48-hour advance notification to the state "One Call" center prior to any excavation so that underground gas, electric and other utility lines can be avoided.

Today in Manchester, Delaware County District Court Judge Alan L. Pearson ordered the $15,000 penalty be paid by Curt and Leo Bockenstedt, who own and operate C & L Drainage company based in Strawberry Point. Miller said civil penalties also will be paid in separate cases in Scott and Winneshiek counties in eastern Iowa.

"The One Call law protects the public and excavators alike from injury or damages, and it protects the environment," Miller said. "It's easy, it's fast, it's free, and it's the law. And it's important. When excavators fail to make that simple One Call it can result in injury or death, property damage, environmental harm, or loss of essential services for the public," he said.

Details on Latest One Call Enforcement Actions:

Delaware County:

The Attorney General's enforcement lawsuit alleged that on April 17 the Bockenstedts' tiling plow struck and punctured a BP pipeline in rural Delaware County - about 30 feet from a BP Pipeline marker and warning sign. The 10-inch diameter hazardous liquids pipeline carries gasoline from the BP terminal in Dubuque to its terminal at the Twin Cities. No explosion occurred, but over 8,000 gallons escaped, contaminating the soil and potentially the groundwater. The pipeline also was struck and dented twice the previous day, April 16, 2002. The pipeline was shut down for about 44 hours while it was repaired at the three locations. BP estimates its costs will exceed $500,000 to repair the pipeline and conduct soil and groundwater remediation at the site. Judge Pearson ordered the $15,000 penalty today and imposed a permanent injunction barring further violations.

Scott County:

Scott County District Court Judge Mark Smith assessed a civil penalty of $3,500 and imposed a permanent injunction today against Engelbrecht Farms, Inc., which owns and operates Engelbrecht Brothers Tiling of Eldridge, Iowa. In April 2001, the lawsuit alleged, the company failed to notify the One Call center prior to excavation directly above two pipelines - a 36-inch natural gas pipeline that carries natural gas from Alberta, Canada, to Joliet, Illinois, and a 10-inch hazardous liquids pipeline that carries propane and butane from Kansas to Illinois. The excavation in rural Scott County was reported by both a citizen and a pipeline patrol plane.

Winneshiek County:

Steve Shindelar of Ridgeway has agreed to pay a $1,500 civil penalty as a result of failing to notify One Call in October 2001 prior to excavating to improve drainage through a waterway on a farm near Ridgeway, about ten miles west of Decorah. Shindelar Excavating excavated directly above a Northern Natural Gas two-inch steel pipeline that transports natural gas to customers in Ridgeway.

Background on 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 handle over 40,000 calls a month during peak seasons. The One Call Center sends "locate requests" to utility companies who are then required within 48 hours to mark underground utility locations with flags or paint showing where excavators must avoid underground lines.

After being contacted by the "Iowa One Call" center, utilities locate and mark underground facilities including gas, electric, communications, cable TV, water and sewer lines.

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.

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