Local utility reminds you to call before you dig on 811 Day

In Moore County, a sea of underground gas, water, and fiber Internet lines zig zag across the the county and they don’t always take the most direct route. That’s why it’s important for homeowner to always call before they dig in order to avoid injury or being financially responsible for a costly repair.

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 make sure the practice of safe digging is echoed in communities by calling 8-1-1, a nationwide toll-free number, before any excavation project.

Tennessee law requires homeowners, excavation companies and contractors to call 811 three business days before digging. Upon calling the free service, the individual is 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. 

“The safety of customers, employees and our communities is our highest priority, and that includes following safe digging practices any time of year,” said Jennifer Ries, vice president of Pipeline Safety. “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.”

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. 

For more information about 811 and safe digging practices, visit Tennessee 811 or Atmos Energy for more safety tips.

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