As part of Safe Digging Month, Dallas-based Atmos Energy Corp. is conducting a social media campaign to raise awareness about knowing what is underground before digging commences.
The iDig It social media contest will give one person $811 for taking pictures of a professionally marked dig site.
“During this time of year, spring is here, and people are going to be out in their yards putting in flower beds, replacing fences, planting trees and other digging activities,” said Michael Street, Atmos public affairs manager.
“If you are at home digging in your backyard, you need to call 811 to make sure that there isn’t any utilities in the area.”
About 60 percent of all incidents on utility pipelines result from excavation damage, according to Atmos Energy.
The nationwide 811 One-Call program provides a quick notification process for participating utilities to mark underground line locations.
“First and foremost this is about public safety,” Street said.
“If a gas line is cut, that means gas is going to escape into the atmosphere and then it has a possibility to ignite. The other issue that comes into play depends on the size of the line and the amount of customers its serves. (Damage) could cause an outage.”
People should call 811 about two to three business days before digging, according to a news release. The service is free in all 50 states.
Last year, Atmos received more than 1 million requests to find lines.
Atmos Energy, one of the country’s largest natural gas distributors, installs and maintains more than 1.2 million miles of pipelines across the nation and serves about 3 million customers.