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December 29, 2008

Rogers Automated Entrances, Inc. Ordered to Pay Penalty for Failing to Notify before Excavating

Des Moines. Polk County District Court Judge Robert Blink has ordered Rogers Automated Entrances, Inc., of Altoona to pay a $5,000 civil penalty for failing to call the “One Call” hotline prior to conducting an excavation.

“The One Call law requires at least 48-hour advance notice before excavations, so underground lines can be marked,” Attorney General Tom Miller said.

The court order issued recently resolves a lawsuit filed by Miller’s office that alleged Rogers Automated Entrances conducted an excavation June 5, 2008, in Pleasant Hill without the required notification – an excavation that turned out to be in the vicinity of five high-pressure hazardous liquids pipelines as well as three underground fiber optics cables.

“Four of the pipelines carried explosive and highly flammable propane or refined petroleum,” Miller said. “Fortunately, none of the lines was hit, but this case shows why the One Call law is so important.”

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More background and detail:

Judge Blink entered the “Consent Order, Judgment and Decree” Dec. 15 in Polk County District Court in Des Moines. The order resolved a lawsuit filed the same day by the Attorney General’s Office. The order prohibited any further violations. [Go to Consent Order. Go to lawsuit.]

Rogers Automated Entrances, Inc., has a home office at 1305 1st Ave. North, Altoona.

The state lawsuit alleged that on June 15, 2008, Rogers Automated conducted an excavation at 1300 Metro East Drive, Pleasant Hill, consisting of a three-foot deep trench using a backhoe, without contacting the One Call Notification Center in advance, and thus without any underground lines being located and marked.

Underground facilities in the vicinity included: a 12-inch pipeline carrying propane between Des Moines and Minnesota; an 8-inch pipeline carrying propane between Des Moines and Chicago; a 12-inch pipeline carrying refined petroleum between Des Moines and Minnesota; a 12-inch pipeline carrying refined petroleum between Des Moines and Chicago; a 24-inch pipeline carrying crude oil to refineries in the Twin Cities area; two fiber optics lines owned by Verizon Wireless; and one fiber optic line owned by Level III. Rogers’ excavation was within 23 feet of the 12-inch propane pipeline.

“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. I always emphasize that One Call is easy, it’s fast, and it’s free. It just makes sense -- and it’s the law.”

Background on Iowa’s “One Call” Law:

Iowa’s One Call Center is reached at 1-800-292-8989, or via the national 8-1-1 number. It is located in Davenport and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. A team of about 40 customer service personnel handles over 50,000 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:

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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