Recently a farmer near Monticello, Iowa struck an aboveground propane line causing major damage and delayed service that will cost thousands of dollars. If a person can hit an aboveground facility and cause a potentially hazardous situation – even life threatening – just imagine the potential ramifications of excavating near (or right on top of) an underground facility.
"We tend to forget that many of the essentials to our daily living are conveyed via an invisible infrastructure, buried beneath our feet," says Ben Booth, manager of public relations and communications for Iowa One Call. "Electricity, natural gas, communication lines and water and sewer services are all essential infrastructure that could be interrupted if someone decides to dig without first having an underground facility locating service mark their yard for free."
Farmers and homeowners need to remember that no matter how busy they are, they need to have their underground utilities located before digging. "Iowa One Call reminds Iowans that there are thousands of miles of underground utility lines essential to our community infrastructure that can become damaged if hit with a shovel or excavation equipment," says Booth.
Last year there were two major incidents involving natural gas pipelines on farmland in Jackson County in eastern Iowa and Plymouth County in northwest Iowa causing injuries to the excavators, severely damaging the pipelines, shutting down pipeline operations and impacting the environment as well as inconveniencing customers and causing tens-of-thousands of dollars in damages. After months of litigation, the lawsuit in Hinton in northwest Iowa was recently settled out of court in April. The contractors were fined for not calling Iowa One Call before digging and they paid damages to the pipeline companies due to negligence.
Iowa Once Call system offers free locating services anywhere in the state
Iowa One Call manages a system that allows Iowa residents or contractors to arrange free locating services anywhere across the state. Residents and professional excavators can call 811 toll free or visit DigSafeWait48.com to fill out a locate request called an iTic and arrange for someone to come out and locate the buried utility lines.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
All requests for locates must be made to Iowa One Call at least 48-hours prior to beginning any digging or excavating (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays). Once the request is completed, the appropriate locating service is contacted for that area. Professionals will come out and mark the yard or project site. After the 48-hour required waiting period has elapsed, homeowners or contractors can begin digging.
"Failure to make the required notice to Iowa One Call could result in some very serious consequences," says Booth. "Damaging underground facilities can impact the well-being of Iowans by disrupting essential services, causing large-scale service outages and even worse, by putting people in harm's way. Fortunately, Iowa has one of the lowest reported dig-in (digging-related damage) rates (1.6%) in the country, but Iowa One Call is in the business to help get that number to zero."
For more information about how you can dig safe, visit the Iowa One Call website.
About Iowa One Call: Iowa One Call provides contractors, homeowners and others who may be excavating, digging or trenching with a single toll-free number to call for locating and marking underground facilities. The toll-free Iowa One Call abbreviated number is 811. Callers may also dial 800-292-8989. Iowa One Call representatives handle more than 400,000 calls and coordinate more than two million locate requests per year in communities throughout Iowa. The service provided by Iowa One Call is free of charge, as is the phone call. The cost is paid in full by participating underground facility operators. Iowa One Call is neither a utility nor a locating service and it does not own facilities nor does it locate underground facilities. To learn more about Iowa One Call, go to www.iowaonecall.com or digsafewait48.com.