Now that fall is here, plenty of Iowa homeowners are planting trees and shrubs or putting up new fences before it gets too cold. Ben Booth, spokesman for Iowa One Call, reminds folks to take the precaution of calling the free service before they dig.
Booth says the law says everyone has to call Iowa One Call at least 48 hours before tackling a project that involves digging. Crews will come out and place little flags or spray-paint on the ground the areas where lines or pipes are buried. Booth says it’s simpler to remember how to reach the statewide hotline now as the phone number has been reduced to just three-digits.
Booth says it’s a lot easier now to just call 8-1-1, although the original number is still around — 800-292-8989. Those who fail to call before digging could face civil penalties of between $1,000 and $10,000 dollars. He says they also risk potentially life-threatening injuries. He suggests logging onto the website " www.iowaonecall.com " to learn about all of the homeowners’ responsibilities before they take on a project.
Booth says homeowners don’t realize what’s entailed in the law as far as just digging a post hole or even poking a stake in the ground. He says either of those acts could cut a communications line or pierce a natural gas pipe. He says just pounding a stake in the ground -is- considered, by law, an excavation and a homeowner would be liable.
The non-profit Iowa One Call is affiliated with 15-hundred entities, including: city and county utilities, electric companies, gas companies, water and sewer districts, telephone companies and cable TV and Internet providers. Every year, the 8-1-1 hotline takes 400,000 calls from Iowans and coordinates the location of two-million underground facilities.