August 11 is 811 Day

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811 Day Fact Sheet

  • What is 811?
    • 811 is the national toll-free telephone number that Congress enacted to prevent damages to underground utility lines caused by digging.
  • How does it work?
    • Call 811 before digging to have all buried utility lines located and marked.
    • The 811 operator will ask a few questions about your project and will send to the digging site professional line locators.
    • The line locators will stake different colored flags or spray temporary paint on the ground to mark the paths of natural gas pipes, electric lines and all other underground utilities.
  • Why should you call 811?
    • Calling 811 is a fast and easy way to protect yourself from digging into a buried natural gas pipeline, high-voltage electric line, telecommunication conduit, water line or sewer.
    • It is the law in all 50 states that you must call 811 before digging to prevent damages.
    • Careless digging ranks as the major cause of underground pipeline accidents.
    • Research studies show that calling 811 prevents 999 excavation accidents out of 1,000.
  • Who should call?
    • Everyone must call 811 before digging. Some examples include
      • Homeowners planting trees, building fences or installing mailboxes;
      • Excavation companies digging foundations, contractors laying driveways, landscapers installing sprinkler systems; and
      • Farmers, ranchers and anybody who plans to dig.
  • When should you call 811?
    • Call 811 at least three business days before digging. This requirement differs by state; so, call 811 to learn your state’s rules if you are uncertain. (The 811 service cannot mark buried lines that belong to a property owner. A commercial line-locating firm or licensed plumber should be called in advance to mark all non-utility lines.)
  • How much does it cost?
    • It’s free. The 811 service does not charge for locating any utility lines or explaining state excavation laws.
  • What should you do after utility lines are marked?
    • Take special care when working around all utility line markings.
    • Dig by hand in the tolerance zones indicated by the line markings.
    • Even if you only nick, scrape or dent a natural gas pipeline, call 911 and then call Atmos Energy’s emergency number at 866-322-8667, so that it can inspect the pipeline and make any repairs. Even minor damage can weaken a pipeline and cause a future leak.

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Information provided by Atmos Energy

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