Spring's a time for digging---Cautiously - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Spring's a time for digging---Cautiously

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MONROE, La., (KNOE 8 News) - Spring is here, which means it's time to dust off the power tools and begin those outdoor projects. Before you start digging into the yard though, Atmos Energy wants you to play it safe and call 811 to have all your buried utility lines marked for free.

"Studies show that careless digging damages an underground utility line every three minutes in the United States," said John McDill, Atmos Energy's vice president of pipeline safety. "The leading cause of pipeline damage is the result of excavation, and failure to call 811 certainly contributes to the problem."

April is National Safe Digging Month and is a reminder that careless digging can affect an entire community. In fact, nearly 60 percent of all incidents involving natural gas distribution pipelines result from excavation damage, according to the American Gas Association.

"Underground utility lines are widespread, and just about any digging poses a danger unless all lines are located and marked in advance, McDill said. "Furthermore, digging covers more than just professional excavating and building projects. It includes many summertime home-improvement and do-it-yourself projects, such as constructing a patio or deck, building a fence, adding trees and landscaping, installing a sprinkler system, even putting in a mail box."

In Louisiana, it is state law that you must call 811 in advance. Louisiana requires at least a 48 hours' notice before excavation begins.

For more information about the toll-free 811 service, visit: www.atmosenergy.com.

Buried utility lines are marked using the following universal color chart for different utility services:

Red – Electric
Orange – Communications, Telephone/CATV
Blue – Potable Water
Green – Sewer/Drainage
Yellow – Gas/Petroleum Pipe Line


Why should I call 811?

  • The greatest risk to underground natural gas pipelines is accidental damage during excavation.
  • Even minor damage such as a gouge, scrape, dent, or crease to a pipeline or its coating may cause a leak or failure.
  • To protect pipelines and other underground facilities, the law requires that all excavators Call 811 between two and ten days before excavation work begins on public or private property.
  • The One Call Center will contact Atmos Energy and the owners of other underground facilities in the immediate area so the location of all facilities can be marked prior to excavation.
  • Calling 811 before you dig is free and it's the LAW.

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Gas Leak?

  • Leave the area immediately.
  • Leave open any doors you pass through to help ventilate the area, but don't take time to open windows.
  • Do not operate any electrical switches or equipment, including telephones and flashlights.
  • Call Atmos Energy's Emergency line at 1.866.322.8667 or call 911
  • Remain away from the area until Atmos Energy declares the area safe.
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