Deadly Gas Line Explosion Prompts Proposal to Change Wisconsin Law

The bill would clarify how contractors should use the state’s one-call system prior to excavation in order to prevent the miscommunication that led to last year’s incident in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Deadly Gas Line Explosion Prompts Proposal to Change Wisconsin Law

(Photo by WKOW)

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One year after a ruptured gas line in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, produced a deadly explosion, a state lawmaker is looking to alter certain excavation practices with a new bill.

The bill that Rep. Gary Hebl has crafted seeks to clarify who has to call Digger’s Hotline, Wisconsin’s one-call system.

“I really believe that this is an accident that should never have happened, and with proper precautions, it would never happen and should never happen again,” Hebl told Channel 3000.

In July 2018, VC Tech, a subcontractor hired by Bear Communications, was installing fiber optic cable in downtown Sun Prairie when it struck a gas line, causing an explosion that killed Fire Capt. Cory Barr and leveled several buildings. The investigation concluded that VC Tech had failed to contact Digger’s Hotline prior to beginning work, instead assuming that it had the OK and utility locating had been successfully completed based on a Digger’s Hotline request from a previous subcontractor on the project.

Hebl’s proposed bill would add specific language to state law stating that any contractor performing excavation work must have direct contact with Digger’s Hotline. Relying on a Digger’s Hotline request from another contractor would not be enough.

Sources: Channel 3000; WKOW



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