National 811 Day: Atmos Energy Says ‘Safe Digging’ is Key to Safe Gas Systems

Atmos Energy


Accidental Damage by Third Parties is Most Common Cause of Natural Gas Leaks


LAMAR, Colo. (August 6, 2018) – Atmos Energy is reminding construction crews across Colorado to please call 811 before you dig. The natural gas utility says it’s seen a spike in hit gas lines over the last six weeks throughout many parts of the state, including Salida, Buena Vista, Gunnison and Crested Butte.

“It’s a serious safety concern,” said Dan Higgins, Atmos Energy Operations Supervisor. “The number of incidents involving construction crews hitting underground gas lines has more than doubled from the same time last year in Gunnison and Chaffee Counties.”

The message comes as the nation pauses to celebrate safe digging practices on 811 Day (August 11, 2018). Every time the public calls 811 before digging, the chance of hitting an underground utility line decreases by 99.9 percent.

“The greatest risk to our natural gas pipelines is accidental damage while digging,” said John McDill, Atmos Energy’s vice president of safety. “Even minor damage, such as a scrape, dent, or crease in a pipeline or its coating, can cause a leak.”

How 811 Works

When calling Colorado 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to their local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the digging site to mark the locations of underground utility-owned lines with flags and spray paint, free of charge.

“We appreciate our customers observing this important safety law. Calling 811 is the law in Colorado. All excavators need to call 811 at least three business days before digging on public or private property,” said McDill.

In honor of National 811 Day, Atmos Energy is hosting a contest on its Instagram account (@atmosenergy) with daily questions from August 6th -10th. Participants have a chance to win $81.10 when they post a comment with the correct answer. Visit for more information.

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