To protect underground utility lines, Atmos Energy observes 811 Day annually on Aug. 11 as a reminder for everyone to practice safe digging. 811 Day is an initiative led by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to ensure the practice of safe digging is echoed in communities by calling 8-1-1, a nationwide toll-free number, before any excavation project.
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to a local call center that notifies area utility companies of the caller’s intent to dig. Professional locators then arrive at the digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint, or both.
“Kentucky law requires homeowners to call 811 two business days before digging – even if you’re working in your own backyard – and there is no cost to you,” said Kay Coomes, Atmos Energy manager of public affairs. “If you hire a contractor to do the work for you, remind the contractor it is their responsibility to notify 811 a few days before starting to dig. This will protect the safety of your family, your neighbors, and the underground utility lines in your yard.”
Striking even a single line can lead to injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages, and fines. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, and laying a patio are just a few examples of common digging projects that should only be done after calling 811.
The depth of utility lines can vary for many reasons like erosion, uneven surfaces, or the aftereffects of previous digging projects. Utility lines must be properly located and marked even when digging just a few inches or in a location that was previously marked.
Natural gas safety is a partnership, and Atmos Energy invites everyone to become a safety ambassador by signing the Atmos Energy Call 811 Pledge at https://www.atmosenergy.com/safety/sign-call-811-pledge.