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For immediate release -- Thursday, May 8, 2003.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Mondamin Excavator to Pay Penalty for "One Call" Violations

Onawa. King Agri Sales, Inc., an excavator with offices in Mondamin IA that hit and damaged a hazardous liquids pipeline in rural Monona County, has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 for violating Iowa's "One Call" law.

"Iowa law requires at least 48-hour advance notification to the state One Call center prior to any excavation so that underground gas, electric and other utility lines can be marked and avoided," Attorney General Tom Miller said today.

Miller's office alleged King Agri violated the One Call law in connection with an excavation last July to install an irrigation system in Lincoln Township in Monona County. The state alleged King Agri failed to contact the notification center and then hit and damaged an 8-inch hazardous liquids pipeline. The pipeline was not carrying liquid petroleum at the time and did not explode.

The state lawsuit also alleged the trenching machine came with ten feet of a separate 12-inch pipeline that was carrying liquid petroleum products under pressure of 400 pounds per square inch. Williams Pipeline operates the two hazardous liquids pipelines at the site of the excavation.

Yesterday in Onawa, Monona County District Court Judge John D. Ackerman prohibited any future violations and ordered King Agri Sales Inc. to pay the $5,000 civil penalty.

"The One Call law protects the public and excavators alike from injury or damages, and it protects the environment," Miller said. "It's easy, it's fast, it's free, and it's the law," he said. "Making the call means that underground facilities will be marked, and excavators can avoid injury or death, property damage, environmental harm, or loss of essential public services."

Miller's Office has brought One Call enforcement actions in ten counties, resulting in civil penalties, permanent injunctions, and, in one case, contempt of court.

Background on Iowa's "One Call" Law:

Iowa's One Call Center is reached at 1-800-292-8989, Miller said. It is located in Davenport and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. A team of about 50 customer service personnel handles over 40,000 calls a month during peak seasons. The One Call Center sends "locate requests" immediately to utility companies who are required within 48 hours to mark underground utility locations with flags or paint showing where excavators must avoid underground lines.

Utility operators locate and mark underground facilities including gas, communications, electric, cable TV, water, and sewer lines.

Iowa's One Call law 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.

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