By Bill Spinks

The Railroad Commission of Texas this week levied fines against the City of Ferris and a Burleson utility contractor for violations that occurred in Ellis County.

During Tuesday’s public hearing via virtual conference, the City of Ferris agreed to pay a $2,500 fine for an infraction at 113 S. Main St. (near W. Fifth St.) in Ferris after an excavation project at that location apparently resulted in damage to underground pipelines.

Under the Texas Administrative Code, “an excavator shall exercise such reasonable care as may be necessary to prevent damage to any underground pipeline in or near the excavation area. Methods to consider, based on certain climate or geographical conditions, include hand digging when practical, soft digging, vacuum excavation methods, pneumatic hand tools.”

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Rodgers Construction Co. agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for failing to report a pipeline breach at 3208 Sawmill Way in Mansfield city limits.

Under the Texas Administrative Code, an excavator that damages an underground pipeline must notify the operator of the damage at the earliest practical moment but not later than one hour following the damage incident.

Also, if damage to a pipeline from excavation activity causes a hazardous release, the excavator must promptly report the release to appropriate emergency response authorities by calling 911.