Celebrating 811 Day is a great way to remind Iowans to call 811- the three-digit number that connects callers with Iowa One Call - before they do any type of digging. Not only is Thursday, August 11th “811 Day,” it also marks the opening day of the 2016 Iowa State Fair and Iowa One Call will be celebrating the day and promoting excavation safety from their state fair exhibit. “Fairgoers should stop by the Iowa One Call exhibit located in the Varied Industries Building to greet Iowa One Call’s mascot, Gabby-the-Groundhog and ‘spin to win’ on the 811 Roulette Wheel,” said Ben Booth, spokesperson for Iowa One Call. On Thursday, August 11th, we’ll be giving away 811 T-shirts and other 811 merchandise, along with prizes for the kids,” said Booth. More prizes will be awarded via a special Facebook drawing. “Each day of the fair, we’ll be drawing for a winner to receive a nice prize via the Iowa One Call Facebook page. For a chance to win, simply ‘like us’ on Facebook and share an Iowa One Call post. Our current Facebook friends will also be included in the drawings,” said Booth. According to Booth, this is all being implemented as a way to educate Iowans about the importance of understanding and adhering to the Iowa One Call requirements.
811 is the national three-digit number that, when dialed on any telephone, connects callers anywhere in the country to their state’s one call notification center. Iowa law requires all persons planning to perform any projects that will entail digging to notify Iowa One Call at least 48-hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) prior to beginning any type of digging by ‘dialing’ 811 or by submitting an online locate request via www.iowaonecall.com . Failure to comply with this law may result in cases of financial liability and even civil penalties. More importantly, failure to “call before you dig” may result in a serious incident that places the public, property and environment in harm’s way. “Piercing an underground natural gas line may result in a fire and/or explosion, and coming in contact with underground electric lines may cause electrical shock and even electrocution,” said Booth. In addition to the potential hazards associated with coming in contact with gas and electric lines, Booth said that digging into a water main can contaminate an entire community’s drinking water supply, and that severing a fiber optic cable may cause widespread communications outages and disrupt 911 emergency services.
The Iowa Attorney General enforces the penalty provisions of the “Iowa One Call law” (Iowa Code, Chapter 480).
- For violations related to natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines, including service lines, an amount up to $10,000 for each violation for each day the violation continues, up to a maximum of $500,000.
- For violations related to any other underground facility, an amount up to $1,000 for each violation for each day the violation continues, up to a maximum of $20,000.
Iowa law does not differentiate between professional and private sectors. Homeowners are required to follow the same regulations as contractors and professional excavators. It is the “excavator” (the party doing the actual excavation work) who is required to notify Iowa One Call. Homeowners must make the notifications when performing their own excavation work. Professional excavators (i.e.: contractors and landscapers) who are hired by homeowners are required to make the notification, not the homeowners. All excavators should take precautions to safeguard any known/existing private facilities that will not be located via the Iowa One Call system.
Homeowners may be surprised to learn what activities require prior notification to Iowa One Call. The simple task of pounding a stake or post into the ground can be as detrimental to an underground facility as the blade of a shovel. For more information about the “Iowa One Call law” visit www.iowaonecall.com.
About Iowa One Call
Iowa One Call, as mandated by law, provides contractors, homeowners, and others who may be planning projects that will entail digging/excavating with a single notification system for requesting the locating and marking of underground facilities. Online locate requests are submitted via www.iowaonecall.com or ‘phoned in’ via the toll-free 8-1-1 three digit number. Callers may also dial 1-800-292-8989 to reach the notification system. The service provided by Iowa One Call is free of charge, as is the phone call and online request. The cost is paid in full by participating underground facility operators. Iowa One Call representatives handle more than 400,000 incoming calls and coordinate more than two million locate requests with underground facility operator/owners annually. Iowa One Call is neither a utility nor a locating service and does not own underground facilities. The process of locating and marking underground facilities is handled by the owner/operators of underground facilities, who by law must respond to all notices transmitted by the Iowa One Call Notification System.
Ben Booth, the Manager of Public Relations/Communications at Iowa One Call, is available for interviews. Please call 515-278-8700 (office) or 515-707-3998 (cell) to schedule.