Atmos Energy Encourages Safe Digging on National Gardening Day | Atmos Energy
National Gardening Day_2021_HERO

Atmos Energy Encourages Safe Digging on National Gardening Day

Safety
April 14, 2021

With the arrival of spring, warmer temperatures and April showers offer ideal conditions to revitalize your home landscaping or plant your first personal herb garden. National Gardening Day on April 14 is meant to encourage everyone from expert horticulturists to those with green thumb aspirations to begin their gardening journey. Before grabbing that shovel, however, Atmos Energy reminds gardening experts and novices alike to call 811 prior to digging deep.

811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number, and it is a free and easy service that is required by law. Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 or go to their state 811 center’s website before digging to request that the approximate location of buried utilities be marked with paint or flags so that you do not unintentionally strike an underground utility line.

“More than 50 percent of Atmos Energy’s hazardous leaks in 2020 were caused by excavation damage. Even minor damage such as a scrape, dent, or gouge in a pipeline or its coating can weaken a pipeline and lead to a future leak,” said Greg Smith, Atmos Energy director of system integrity and compliance.  “Whether you are a landscape architect or a ‘do-it-yourselfer,’ if your backyard beautification project requires heavy equipment or power tools, make sure all underground utility lines have been located and marked by calling 811 before digging begins.”

A good gardener plans years ahead, and part of that planning should include calling 811 three days in advance to protect yourself, your neighbors, and the underground utility lines that perform vital services for the community.

When calling 811, be prepared to confirm the address of your digging project, including the county and nearest cross street, as well as the type of project you are completing and the exact area on the property where you plan to dig. Whether you call 811 or make your request online, you will need the same info.

When you call 811:

  • A representative collects the information described above about the excavation activity and location.
  • The notification center then relays this information to operators of underground facilities near the proposed excavation area.
  • Utilities and pipeline companies who are potentially impacted by the proposed excavation will send a locator out to identify and mark the location of their lines near the excavation or confirm their facilities are not impacted.
  • Excavators are required to wait while the marking of the lines occurs. This wait time is prescribed in your state law. To learn what is required in your state, visit https://www.safeexcavator.com/states.

Our gardens are a unique space, so use National Gardening Day as an excuse to get out there and make the most of them – but please remember to call 811 before you dig.  It’s free, it’s safe, and it’s required by law.

Before you get started with your landscaping project, please visit  https://www.atmosenergy.com/safety/call-811-before-you-dig and sign the Atmos Energy Call 811 Pledge at https://www.atmosenergy.com/safety/sign-call-811-pledge