The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 3, 2013

Missouri sues excavators over Joplin gas line strikes

By Jeff Lehr
news@joplinglobe.com

— The Missouri attorney general is suing two Arkansas businesses for alleged violations of state law governing excavations at two locations in Joplin.

Attorney General Chris Koster said in a news release that he has filed a lawsuit alleging that DTS Custom Homes and Pinnacle Plumbing & Mechanical violated Missouri’s “One Call System” by calling in incorrect locations of excavation work performed in Joplin in May and June of last year, resulting in underground gas lines being struck.

“Missouri’s (system) provides an important protection for underground utilities and the surrounding areas,” Koster said. “The law is clear that excavators must have underground utilities marked before any digging begins.”

He said excavators who do not provide a clear description of where they intend to dig or fail to check for underground utilities will be held accountable by the attorney general’s office.

Koster is asking a state court to issue injunctions prohibiting the two businesses from any further violations of the law protecting underground cables and pipes, to assess appropriate civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day, and to require the defendants to cover all costs associated with any damage they caused.

DTS Custom Homes is a housing development business based in Farmington, Ark., and is owned by DTS Brokerage & Development LLC. Pinnacle Plumbing performed the excavation work for DTS Custom Homes at both locations, according to the attorney general’s office.