For immediate release - Monday, September 12, 2005
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.
Knoxville Excavator Ordered to Pay $5,000 Penalty for
"One Call" Violations
A.G. had alleged excavator severed a gas line, then violated the law by failing to notify
the operator of the damaged line, crudely patching the line, and backfilling over the
Indianola. Greg Coalbank, a Knoxville excavator who severed a residential natural gas pipeline in Hartford, Iowa, today
was ordered to pay a $5,000 civil penalty for violations of Iowa's "One Call" law. The law requires at least 48 hours'
notification prior to any underground excavation -- and requires specific steps to be taken if an underground line is
Attorney General Tom Miller filed a lawsuit in December alleging that Coalbank severed the gas pipeline in Hartford in
2003 while installing a telephone line to the house -- and then violated Iowa's "One Call" law by failing to notify
MidAmerican Energy of the damage, attempting a "crude patch" of the pipeline, backfilling over the damaged pipeline, and
leaving the site. MidAmerican discovered a gas leak near the home about two months later.
Miller said: "Iowa's One Call law requires at least 48-hour advance notification to the state One Call center prior to any
excavation so that underground gas, electric, communications, and other utility lines can be avoided. If damage occurs to
an underground line, the law requires excavators to notify the line operator and refrain from backfilling the site until the
damage has been investigated. This was our first One Call enforcement action centering on an excavator's failure to
comply with the post-damage requirements of the law."
The penalty was entered in a consent order, judgment and decree this morning in Warren County District Court by Judge
Sherman Phipps. Phipps also prohibited any further violations by Coalbank. Hartford is just southeast of Des Moines in
here for a PDF copy of both the Courtís 9-12-05 order and the Attorney
Generalís lawsuit filed 12-30-04.]
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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 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, communications, electric, cable TV, water, and sewer
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, and
up to $1,000 per day involving other underground facilities.
"The law protects the public and excavators alike from injury or death," Miller said. "The law protects the environment
and helps prevent disruptions. I always emphasize that One Call is easy, it's fast, it's free, and it's the law," he said.
Details - Warren County lawsuit that named Greg Coalbank:
The lawsuit, which was filed Dec. 30, 2004, alleged:
Coalbank, of 1188 McKimber Street, Knoxville, Iowa, is the owner and operator of a construction business. On March 24,
2003, Coalbank commenced excavation to install a telephone line at a residence at 211 Hammond St. in Hartford.
MidAmerican Energy Company operated a half-inch diameter buried natural gas pipeline to the house, and had located and
marked the location of the line several days before the excavation.
During the excavation, Coalbank's equipment hit and severed the gas pipeline, causing release of natural gas. Coalbank
did not notify MidAmerican, and he attempted to patch or rejoin the severed natural gas pipeline with tape, tubing, and two
hose clamps. The area was then backfilled with soil and Coalbank left the site.
About two months later, MidAmerican conducted a leak survey and determined there was a natural gas leak from the
pipeline serving the residence at 211 Hammond St. The company investigated and determined that the natural gas pipeline
had previously been severed and crudely patched, which was the cause of the natural gas leak.
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