Complaints: One Call is a long call

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

People who plan on digging anywhere in rural Minnesota need a property description when they call Gopher State One Call to find out where utility lines are.

Freeborn County Environmental Services has listened to complaints from people who often wait five to 15 minutes on the phone to speak to a person from One Call, only to find that they need to hang up, look for their property descriptions and call &045; and wait &045; all over again.

People digging in town can simply hand over an address to One Call. People digging in the country need to get more exact locations than their rural addresses.

&8220;Just having an address is not sufficient,&8221; said Environmental Services Director Randy Tuchtenhagen. &8220;A lot of locations don’t have an address.&8221;

To get an exact description of where utility lines, potable water, survey markings and communication lines are, One Call needs to know the quarter of the section in the township

someone will be digging.

&8220;Everybody who owns property has that, it’s right on their property tax statement,&8221; Tuchtenhagen said.

Now Tuchtenhagen is working on a way to give Gopher State One Call Freeborn County’s rural address system, in hopes that it will help the service pinpoint people’s locations.

Environmental Services needs to collate all the information from the Freeborn County Highway Department with all its own information and turn it over to Teleatlas, a company on the East Coast that takes responsibility for accurate and precise locating for One Call. Teleatlas will make the information available to One Call.

Gopher State One Call is a nonprofit organization funded by utility companies that was organized in 1987 after a serious pipeline accident in the Twin Cities in 1986. It was designed to be &8220;a centralized statewide information processing center to relay excavation notices to excavators and underground facility operators,&8221; says its Web site.

People planning to dig &045; even on their own property &045; should call (800) 252-1166 or (651) 454-0002 at least 48 hours in advance, and can visit the Web site at

for more information.