King County Excavator penalized $16,000

A King County excavator was issued a $16,000 penalty for three violations of the states “call before you dig” law.

This law requires that Washington citizens to call the Utility Notification Center at least two days before they start to dig somewhere, according to the call before you dig Washington state website.

According to the Utilities and Transportation Commission, they fined Maple Valley-based Rino Construction for excavating without contacting the Utility Notification Center on three different occasions in 2016.

During these instances, a natural gas line and two natural gas service stubs were damaged as a result of the company’s failure to call, they said.

The violations occurred while the company was completing electrical conduit installation projects in Renton, Kirkland and Bellevue. According to the Utilities and Transportation Commission, the violations were reported by the Puget Sound Energy.

Commission staff recommended a $1,000 penalty for the first violation, a $5,000 for the second and $10,000 for the third violation within a six month period.

The call before you dig law, (RCW 19.122 Underground Utilities) charges the UTC with enforcement of violations of the dig law, which are brought forward by the Safety Committee.

All of the money collected are put into a damage prevention account and used for educational outreach designed to improve worker and public safety related to excavation and underground facilities.

The UTC regulates the rates and services of telecommunications companies, investor-owned electric utilities, natural gas and water companies, garbage-collection haulers, household-goods movers and charter-bus companies, commercial ferries, pipeline companies and a low-level radioactive waste repository.

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