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Iowa One Call Law

Iowa’s One Call Law, Iowa Code Chapter 480, defines the obligations and   responsibilities of excavators, utilities, and locators.

What the Law Requires

The law requires that excavators, utility operators, and individuals, including  homeowners, notify Iowa One Call at least 48 hours before excavating on  public and private property, right-of-ways, and easements.  The law also  requires that underground facility owners and operators mark the location of  an underground utility in response to the proper notification of a planned excavation.

One Call Law Violation Enforcement

The Office of the Attorney General vigorously enforces the One Call Law.

An enforcement action may range from a warning letter to a civil lawsuit seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief. The Attorney General can pursue civil penalties of up $10,000 per violation, per day, for natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines. For all other underground facilities, the Attorney General can seek up to $1,000 per violation, up to $20,000 maximum.

If a court determines that  an excavator who is subject to a previous injunction again violates the One Call law, the court may impose additional fines or even incarceration.

This information should help excavators, homeowners, and utility operators avoid damages, and also help protect personal and public safety.

News on One Call cases with civil penalties:

2021:  Miller enforces Iowa's One Call law

2020:  Miller files five lawsuits over ‘One Call’ utility violations

2019: Miller files five ‘Iowa One Call’ lawsuits

2017: Miller Files Seven “One Call” Violation Lawsuits

2014: Miller Files Seven Lawsuits for Alleged "Iowa One Call Law" Violations

2013: Miller Files One Call Lawsuits

2012: Judge Penalizes Two Story County Companies for Violating "Iowa One Call" Law

2012: Polk County Judge Penalizes West Des Moines Company for One Call Violation

2012:  Excavators Tied to Major Natural Gas Pipeline Explosions Agree to Maximum Penalties

 2010: Four Lawsuits Allege "One Call" Violations

2008: Rogers Automated Entrances, Inc. Ordered to Pay Penalty for Failing to Notify before Excavating


Contact Information
Iowa Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General
Environmental Law Division
1305 E. Walnut St.
Des Moines, IA 50139
P: 515-281-5164

Jacob Larson, Assistant Attorney General
P: 515-281-5341

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