Iowa man paying $5K penalty

By Bryan Cohen | Oct 21, 2011


DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced on Thursday that a Milford resident has been ordered to pay a $5,000 penalty for allegedly violating the "Iowa One Call" law.

Todd Gonnerman allegedly installed tile lines last year without first contacting Iowa One Call. Gonnerman allegedly failed to have underground facilities located and marked and, as a result, his tiling equipment hit an underground diesel fuel line in two locations, resulting in the release of fuel to a tile line, a stream and a farm pond.

According to Miller's petition, Gonnerman allegedly installed drainage tile on his property near Milford during the fall of 2010. On June 9, 2010, a local citizen observed a sheen on a creek and smelled diesel fuel near Gonnerman's property. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the owner of the pipeline, NuStar Energy LP of San Antonio, determined the source of the leak. The company shut down the pipeline, repaired the leak and contained and cleaned the released diesel fuel.

Gonnerman admitted excavating without first contacting Iowa One Call in violation of state law. He cooperated with the containment and cleanup.

In a consent decree filed on Wednesday, Dickinson County Court Judge David Lester ordered Gonnerman to pay $5,000, required that he not excavate in the future without first contacting Iowa One Call and ordered him to follow the Iowa One Call law.

Iowa's One Call law has been in effect since 1993 and is paid for by owners and operators of pipelines and other underground facilities. Iowa's One Call Center handles more than 400,000 incoming calls to send locate requests immediately to utility companies, which are required to mark underground utility locations within 48 hours with paint or flags showing where underground lines are located.

Violators are subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day for violations related to natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines and up to $1,000 per day for other underground facilities. Violators may also be liable for the repair costs of damaged facilities.

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