DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced on Tuesday that he has settled four separate lawsuits against companies that allegedly violated the state's One Call laws by not providing proper notice on excavations.
Under state law, any planned excavation in the state requires notice to the Iowa One Call notification system at least 48 hours prior to excavating.
The lawsuits involve excavations conducted in the vicinity of natural gas or hazardous liquids pipelines.
"We allege that these defendants did not do what the law required of them before excavating," Miller said. "That threatened the integrity of gas or hazardous materials pipelines, it could have jeopardized the safety of these crews, and it could have been an expensive and inconvenient service disruption to the public. Iowa's One Call law is simple. You call before you dig."
The law authorizes civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day of violation, plus injunctive relief, but Miller's office quickly resolved the suits with each of the defendants. The defendants are awaiting court approval of the proposed consent decrees.
David Dreyer, doing business as Dreyer AG, allegedly conducted an excavation with a bulldozer and trenching equipment to install terraces and drainage tile on Oct. 27, 2009. The trenching equipment crossed over a 26 inch diameter natural gas pipeline and a 36 inch diameter natural gas pipeline, both under 425 psi pressure, hitting and gouging the latter pipeline, which required repairs.
Under terms of the consent decree, Dreyer will pay a $7,000 civil penalty and be enjoined against further violations.
David W. Recker Excavating L.L.C. allegedly performed an excavation with a bulldozer to reshape a waterway on Dec. 1, 2009. The bulldozer crossed over a 36 inch diameter natural gas pipeline under 1926 psi pressure and within 50 feet of a 12 inch diameter hazardous liquids pipeline under 600 psi pressure.
In the consent decree to which Recker agreed, he will pay a $5,000 civil penalty and be enjoined against further violations.
Dan Fedders allegedly conducted an excavation to install new fencing on June 30, 2009, and his equipment came to within nine inches of a 12 inch diameter hazardous liquids pipeline under several hundred pounds of pressure per square inch.
Fedders agreed in his consent decree to pay a $3,000 civil penalty. He is also enjoined against further violations.
Ron Redenious is alleged to have conducted an excavation with a backhoe to repair tile lines on April 27, 2010. His backhoe came to within 50 inches of a three inch diameter natural gas pipeline and within 25 feet of another three inch diameter natural gas pipeline, both under 475 psi pressure.
Under terms of his consent decree, Redenius agreed to pay a $3,000 civil penalty and be enjoined against further violations.