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Franklin county farmer fined $5K for unauthorized dig that ruptured gas lines


This news story was published on December 31, 2014.
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gavel-justiceDES MOINES – A Franklin county farmer has been ordered by a judge to pay a $5,000 fine for unauthorized digging that ruptured two natural gas lines and threatened gas service to nearby towns.

District Court Judge James M. Drew ordered Monday that Roy E. Plagge, of Latimer, pay a $5,000 civil penalty and permanently enjoined Plagge from violating the One Call law.

According to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s lawsuit, on September 22, 2014, the defendant conducted an excavation to install drainage tile in rural Franklin County, without first contacting the Iowa One Call notification center and, thereby, failed to provide notice to operators of underground facilities.  During the excavation, the defendant’s tiling equipment hit and damaged in two locations a four-inch diameter natural gas pipeline.  The damage resulted in leaking natural gas but no explosion.  The defendant notified the owner of the pipeline, Northern Natural Gas of the damaged pipeline.  Northern Natural Gas, the Franklin County Sheriff, and the local fire department dispatched emergency response staff to the site.  During pipeline repairs, Northern Natural Gas used natural gas bottle trucks to maintain service in Chapin, Rockwell, and Sheffield.

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3 Responses to Franklin county farmer fined $5K for unauthorized dig that ruptured gas lines

  1. John Reply Report comment

    December 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    He also should have been aware in the first place that those huge pipelines were on his property. In my opinion, it is a light fine. He should have been fined more for the disruption and repairs. The deed to the property shows the pipelines in place.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      January 1, 2015 at 8:07 am

      And, he should have had to pay for the people who hate to go without gas as well as any extra cost they had. A fine just goes to the state and does nothing for the people affected by his stupidity.

  2. Allen Reply Report comment

    December 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    What a dumb ass, this guys lucky that he’s around to pay the fine. One Call is there for a reason, to save money and lives