Beginning April 1, Atmos Energy Corporation invites you to join its “iDig It” campaign designed to remind property owners, construction crews and do-it-yourselfers to always call 811 before they dig. The reminder comes as utilities across the nation recognize April as National Safe Digging Month.
“It’s the law in every state we serve that all excavators call 811 at least two to three business days before excavating begins on public or private property,” said John McDill, Atmos Energy vice president of pipeline safety. “The 811 program is provided at no charge, and it can save you time and money as well as prevent threats to life and property.”
Atmos Energy’s “iDig It” campaign, which begins on April 1, offers participants the chance to win $811 if they snap a picture of a clearly marked digging site in their community. The contest information and rules are on Atmos Energy’s Facebook page and website (www.facebook.com/atmosenergy). The goal of the campaign is to educate the public about the need to Call 811 before every digging project, whether simple landscaping or major construction of a building.
“The greatest risk to our underground natural gas pipelines is accidental damage during excavation,” McDill said. “Even minor damage, such as a gouge, scrape, dent, or crease in a pipeline or its coating, can cause a leak or failure.”
By calling 811, property owners and contractors are connected to their local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utilities about the excavation. Professional locators are then sent to the digging site to mark the locations of underground utility lines with flags or spray paint.
“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,” McDill said. “Protect yourself and others by calling 811 well in advance, waiting until any buried utility lines are located and then respecting those location marks when digging.”