An eastern Iowa business has been ordered to pay a $5,000 civil penalty after one of its bulldozers hit an underground gas line. Iowa Attorney General spokesman, Bob Brammer, says the problem in Bellvue could have been avoided.
Brammer says the person failed to call "Iowa One Call" to locate gas lines before digging. The bulldozer hit a three-inch gas line which caused an explosion and fire and the operator was severely burned. Brammer says the damaged pipeline left people in the nearby town without gas. He says it’s a "classic example" of why you’re required to use the one call center before digging.
Brammer says the J.J. Scheckel Heavy Equipment Corporation of Bellvue was ordered to pay the civil fine for the incident that happened in 2005. Brammer says the penalties for failing to call can be up to 10-thousand dollars if a gas line or hazardous materials line is struck, and up to $1,000 a day for an electric or phone line. Brammer says the violations don’t happen very often, but the Attorney General will take action when it does happen.
Brammer says almost all the actions result in civil penalties and injunctions. Brammer says it’s something the public needs to know about, and the legal actions sends the message that it needs to be taken seriously. Brammer says the One Call service operates 24 hours a day, every day, and should be used by anyone who plans to do some digging. He says it’s a quick and easy service to use.