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April 23, 1999

Attorney General Files Suit Alleging Violation of "One Call" Law

State alleges tiling contractor excavated dangerously close to a natural gas liquids pipeline without contacting the State's "One Call" notification center.


ANAMOSA-- Attorney General Tom Miller filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit today in Jones County alleging that a tiling contractor failed to provide prior notification required by state law before excavating near a natural gas liquids pipeline. Iowa law requires at least 48-hour advance notification to the state "One Call" center prior to any excavation.

The pipeline, owned by Dome Pipeline Corporation, carries natural gas liquids including propane, ethylene, and ethane, all of which are hazardous and highly flammable. It runs through northeast Iowa from Mitchell County to Clinton County and into Illinois.

The State's petition alleges that Doug Klima, doing business as Klima Tiling of Center Point, Iowa, conducted an excavation in rural Jones County on November 19, 1998, without first contacting the statewide notification center as required. The petition alleges that Klima used a backhoe to dig three holes directly above the natural gas liquids pipeline within as little as 37 inches from the top of the pipeline and that Klima installed a tile line as close as 18 feet from the pipeline. The petition states that Klima's tiling near the pipeline was observed by a pipeline patrol plane and then investigated by a pipeline technician.

"The Iowa One Call statute is designed to protect the public, excavators, and owners and operators of underground facilities from personal injury or loss of property resulting from excavations," Miller said. "The law is particularly important when excavation is near a pipeline carrying hazardous and highly flammable liquids," he said.

"Compliance is easy," Miller said. "Just call One Call."

The One Call toll-free number is 800-292-8989.

Notification must be made at least 48 hours prior to any planned excavation, excluding weekends and legal holidays. Upon receiving a One Call notification, the statewide notification center immediately contacts owners and operators of various underground facilities so the area can be marked properly prior to the excavation.

The State's lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day for each violation and an injunction requiring compliance with the statute.

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