IUB spokesman, Donald Tormey says the Utilities Board and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office received a federal grant to support this effort.
“As you know, ever year in the springtime folks get out and want to work in the yard and do home improvement and digging projects,” Tormey says, “and this applies also to general contractors who are out doing major work and major digging. So, this is another reinforcement of that message.”
The program Iowa One Call allows you to call for free and have the underground utilities marked, but some people and companies still don’t do it. Tormey says the IUB is looking for information on how to improve the whole process.
“They’re asking utility companies, contractors, Iowa One Call locating companies and the public to file comments with the board,” Tormey says. He says they are asking businesses and contractors to file remarks by January 16 and the general public by January 23rd.
“If anybody needs more information about Iowa One call, they can visit the Iowa Utilities Board pipeline safety webpage and that is: www.iub.iowa.gov/pipeline-safety. Or they can go to the Iowa Attorney General’s website: iowaattorneygeneral.gov/onecall.
The Board also plans to schedule a workshop for February 27th where interested persons may discuss the information provided by the utilities, ask questions, and respond to questions.
The end result of the review could be anything from new rules to recommendations for changes in penalties for not calling, or there could be no changes made.
“I think it all depends on the information that’s provided to the board from this inquiry,” according to Tormey. “Again I go back to what the order says, it’s to gather information to establish best practices and improve those programs. And that could be involving what happens when somebody doesn’t report, or there is an incident.”
Past issues have included the cutting of fiber optic lines that knock out phone lines, and there have also been deaths after someone who was digging hit and underground gas line. The grant for the inquiry is from the federal Department of Transportation, Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration.
(Note the third to last paragraph was edited to clarify the potential outcomes)