NEVADA, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced on Monday that a judge has penalized two Story County companies for allegedly failing to comply with the Iowa One Call law before conducting drainage tile installation excavations.
Story Count District Court Judge Kurt J. Stoebe issued a $7,000 civil penalty against Larson Agriproducts Limited and a $5,000 civil penalty against Tony Morris, doing business as T Morris Trenching.
According to a petition filed against Larson Agriproducts Limited, the company allegedly conducted excavations with a drainage plow on Oct. 28 without first contacting the Iowa One Call Notification Center to have the underground facilities located and marked.
A petition against Morris alleged that on the same day, he conducted excavations with a bulldozer to assist with the site preparation for drainage tile installation in the same area as Larson's excavations. Morris allegedly removed six to 12 inches of soil from directly above a two inch diameter natural gas pipeline under 784 pounds per square inch of pressure without first contacting the call notification center. During the excavations, Larson's drainage plow hit and damaged the natural gas pipeline.
Miller says the pipeline damage resulted in the release of natural gas, the evacuation of the area and an emergency response by pipeline owner Northern Natural Gas, the American Red Cross, the Iowa State Patrol, the city of Huxley Fire Department, the Story County Emergency Management Agency and the Story County Sheriff's Office.
"This was a situation that not only put the workers in the field in danger, it threatened area residents, first responders and utility crews as well," Miller said. "And it all could have been avoided by one simple phone call for a free service that the law requires."
In addition to the civil penalties that were assessed, the court permanently enjoined the defendants from further violating the Iowa One Call law.