Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Atmos: Call 811 before you dig

Every six minutes, an underground utility line is damaged in the United States. However, a quick, free call to 811 before digging virtually eliminates this threat and protects the community.

In recognition of National 811 Day (Aug. 11), Atmos Energy Corp. reminds homeowners, construction crews, and do-it-yourselfers to call 811 before digging into your next outdoor project.

“It’s the law in every state to call 811 at least two days before digging,” said Kevin Dobbs, Atmos Energy Kentucky’s vice president of operations. “The 811 program is provided at no charge to save you time and money as well as to prevent threats to life and property.”

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to their state one-call center, which notifies all appropriate utility companies in the area. Professional line locators are then sent to the digging site to mark the locations of all buried utility lines with colored flags and spray paint. The 811 service does not locate customer-owned lines on a property or inside a building. A plumber, electrician or other contractor must be hired to locate customer-owned lines.

“The greatest risk to underground natural gas pipelines is accidental damage during excavation,” Dobbs said. “Even minor damage, such as a gouge, scrape, dent or crease in a pipeline or its coating, can cause a leak or failure. To protect pipelines and other underground facilities, the law requires that all excavators call 811 between two and ten days before excavation work begins on public or private property.”

Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree or laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting. For details, go to atmosenergy.com/safety.