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November 20, 2007

Nuckolls Concrete Services Paying $6,500 Penalty for "One Call" Violation in Des Moines

Excavation hit 3/4-inch gas line at MLK Parkway site.

Des Moines. A Des Moines construction and excavation business that hit an underground gas line near Martin Luther King Parkway has been ordered to pay a $6,500 civil penalty for failing to notify the statewide “One Call” notification center before digging.

“The law requires at least 48-hour advance notice before excavations, so underground lines can be marked and avoided,” said Attorney General Tom Miller. “Fortunately, there was no explosion in this case, but there was a dangerous release of natural gas.”

A state lawsuit alleged that Nuckolls Concrete Services, Inc., hit and severed a 3/4-inch-diameter natural gas line with a backhoe on June 12, 2007, at 2536 MLK Parkway. The service-connection gas line connected to a high-pressure 4-inch-diameter MidAmerican Energy natural gas main pipeline that runs along MLK Parkway.

The Attorney General’s Office lawsuit filed Tuesday in Polk County District Court alleged the “One Call” violations. The suit was resolved simultaneously by a court order issued Tuesday by District Court Judge Douglas F. Staskal, assessing the $6,500 civil penalty and prohibiting any future violations.

“The One Call law protects the public, and it protects excavators from injury or death,” Miller said. “It protects the environment and avoids costly disruptions. Call 1-800-292-8989 any time, any day. One Call is easy, it’s fast, and it’s free. It just makes sense -- and it’s the law.”

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Background on Iowa’s “One Call” Law:

Iowa’s One Call Center is reached at 1-800-292-8989. 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 to mark underground utility locations within 48 hours with flags or paint showing where underground lines are located. The One Call web site is found at:

Utility operators locate and mark underground facilities such as gas, hazardous liquids, communications, electric, cable TV, water, and sewer lines. Each year, Iowa One Call personnel handle more than 400,000 incoming calls, and they coordinate over two million underground facility “locates” in Iowa.

Iowa’s One Call law (Iowa Code Ch. 480) 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. Violators also may be liable for the repair costs of damaged facilities.


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