A Le Mars excavator has agreed to pay a civil penalty for violating Iowa's One Call law, in a case that led to a natural gas explosions near Hinton in April. DeRocher Construction, has entered into a consent decree assessing the maximum civil penalty of $20,000, and consenting to a permanent injunction against further violations of the One Call law.
Attorney General Tom Miller today filed two lawsuits to enforce Iowa's One Call law in Plymouth and Jackson Counties. In both cases, excavators failed to provide a 48-hour notice of the excavations so that underground facilities could be located and marked.
Two people were injured in the Plymouth county explosion, which created a 30 foot deep, 35 foot wide crater and scorched nearly 80 acres. The blast destroyed the defendant's tiling plow and bulldozer, along with an overhead high voltage power line and poles, and caused substantial property damage to the pipeline company.
Miller says a week later, on May, 2nd, DeRocher Construction again conducted excavations a ¼ mile from these same pipelines, without providing a 48-hour notice of the excavations.
Derocher Construction is also being sued by Northern Natural Gas. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. It says Northern Natural Gas spent nearly $440,000 for emergency response, inspection and repair and other expenses to get the pipeline back into operation.
Miller's second lawsuit involved another company involved in a similar incident in Jackson County.