Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, laying a patio are some examples of digging projects that require a free 811 request at least a few days before breaking ground.

Every year, August 11 (8/11) is used to serve as an annual reminder for residents and professional excavators to contact 811 and have underground utility-owned lines located and marked before beginning any digging project.

Examples of digging projects that require a free 811 request at least a few days before breaking ground include installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, and laying a patio.

Jennifer Ries, Atmos Energy vice president of pipeline safety, said that by calling 811, you protect yourself, your family and your community.

“Striking a natural gas pipeline can lead to injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages, and fines. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants contacting 811 by phone or online. It’s free. It’s safe. And it’s required by law,” Ries said.

Atmos Energy said that when calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to a local call center that notifies utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators will then mark the approximate locations of underground, utility-owned lines with flags, spray paint, or both.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked, because even when digging only a few inches or digging in a location that’s previously been marked, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

Jason Farve, Major Accounts Manager at Mississippi Power, said that underground utilities can cause severe injuries, outages and result in costly repairs if struck by a shovel or other equipment.

“Remember to call 811 to mark the underground utilities before doing any projects that require digging,” Farve said.

PSC Central District Commissioner Brent Bailey said that 811 Day serves as an important reminder that everyone, whether a homeowner or professional excavator, must “Call Before You Dig.”

Atmos Energy invites everyone to become a safety ambassador by signing the Call 811 Pledge at atmosenergy.com/sign-call-811-pledge.

Those who sign the pledge vowed to:

  • Always call 811 at least three business days* before I start any digging project.
  • Become an advocate for calling 811 before digging.
  • Educate others about the importance of knowing the location of underground utility lines.