Separate lawsuits in five counties allege damage to underground natural gas lines
DES MOINES – Attorney General Tom Miller Monday filed seven lawsuits in five counties over alleged violations of the “Iowa One Call” law.
The lawsuits, including four that are resolved or the agreements are pending, allege that all seven defendants conducted illegal excavations that damaged underground natural gas lines.
The One Call law requires anyone who digs, excavates or trenches privately or commercially to first contact the Iowa One Call center for underground utilities locating.
According to a lawsuit filed in Calhoun County District Court, on May 12, 2016, Northern Natural Gas was conducting aerial surveillance of its pipeline and observed Ag Repair LLC, of Manson, excavating as part of a drainage tiling project in rural Calhoun County. Northern Natural Gas investigated and found that Ag Repair struck and damaged a four-inch underground natural gas pipeline. Northern replaced a 43-foot section of the line at a cost of approximately $100,000. Seven customers were affected by the damage.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring the company from violating the One Call law.
Miller filed a lawsuit in Dickinson County District Court against Lynde Construction Inc., of Sioux Falls South Dakota, alleging that on April 4, 2016, the company hit and damaged a two-inch underground natural gas line as part of a drainage tiling project in Arnolds Park. The excavation allegedly took place several feet away from a permanent natural gas pipeline marker.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring Lynde from violating the One Call law.
According to Miller’s lawsuit filed in Lee County District Court, in late January of 2016, DeLong Construction, of Washington, Iowa, was excavating as part of a ditch cleaning in rural Lee County, when it hit and damaged a one-foot diameter natural gas line.
Through a consent decree agreement approved and ordered by District Court Judge John M. Wright, DeLong, which admits violations, will pay a $7,000 penalty and agrees not to violate the One Call law.
Miller filed three lawsuits in Marion County District Court, which were tentatively resolved through proposed consent decrees.
- KMA Development LLC, dba KMA Trucking & Excavating
According to Miller’s lawsuit, on August 7, 2015, KMA Development LLC, doing business as KMA Trucking & Excavating, of Princeton, damaged a one-inch diameter natural gas line in Knoxville, while excavating to plant trees.
Through a consent decree agreement approved and ordered by District Court Judge Terry Rickers, KMA, which admits violations, agrees to a $5,000 penalty and agrees not to violate the One Call Law.
- Koopman Roofing Inc., dba Hopkins Roofing Inc.
According to Miler’s lawsuit, on March 23, 2016, Koopman Roofing Inc., doing business as Hopkins Roofing Inc., of Pella, excavated land in Pella to lower an underground natural gas line. During the excavation, Hopkins damaged the line.
Through a consent decree agreement approved and ordered by District Judge Terry Rickers, Hopkins Roofing, which admits violations, will pay a $3,000 penalty and agrees not to violate the One Call law.
- Peterson Tiling & Excavating LLC
According to Miller’s lawsuit, on February 1, 2016, Peterson Tiling & Excavating LLC, of Pella, was excavating as part of a drainage tile installation in Pella when it hit and damaged a an underground natural gas line.
Through a consent decree agreement approved and ordered by District Court Judge Terry Rickers, Peterson, which admits violations, will pay $3,000 and agrees not to violate the One Call law.
According to Miller’s lawsuit filed in Sioux County District Court, on May 5, 2016, Steve Doorenboos, of Boyden, was excavating land as part of a drainage tile project in Boyden when his equipment hit and damaged an underground natural gas line. The incident resulted in the city losing natural gas service.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring Doorenboos from violating the One Call law.
Iowa One Call Law
The One Call law requires that anyone excavating, including digging, must call Iowa One Call at least 48 hours in advance of digging, to minimize the risk of damage to underground facilities, including electric, gas, communications, water and sewer lines.
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.
Excavators, farm operations and homeowners can notify the Iowa Once Call Notification Center about planned digging or excavating online at www.iowaonecall.com, or by phone at 811 (or toll-free at 800-292-8989). The center is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Iowa One Call sends "locate utility requests" immediately to companies, which are required to mark underground utility locations within 48 hours with flags or paint showing where underground lines are located.
The One Call law 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.
Iowa One Call media contact:
Ben Booth, Iowa One Call Public Relations/Communications Manager