What is 811?
- 811 is the national toll-free telephone number that Congress enacted to prevent damages to underground utility lines caused by digging.
How does it work?
- Call 811 before digging to have all buried utility lines located and marked.
- The 811 operator will ask a few questions about your project and will send to the digging site professional line locators.
- The line locators will stake different colored flags or spray temporary paint on the ground to mark the paths of natural gas pipes, electric lines and all other underground utilities.
Why should you call 811?
- Calling 811 is a fast and easy way to protect yourself from digging into a buried natural gas pipeline, high-voltage electric line, telecommunication conduit, water line or sewer
- It is the law in all 50 states that you must call 811 before digging to prevent damages
- Careless digging ranks as the major cause of underground pipeline accidents.
- Research studies show that calling 811 prevents 999 excavation accidents out of 1,000.
Who should call?
Everyone must call 811 before digging. Some examples include
- Homeowners planting trees, building fences or installing mailboxes;
- Excavation companies digging foundations, contractors laying driveways, landscapers installing sprinkler systems; and
- Farmers, ranchers and anybody who plans to dig
When should you call 811?
- Call 811 at least three business days before digging. This requirement differs by state; so visit the texas811.org website or call 811 to learn your state’s rules if you are uncertain. (The 811 service cannot mark buried lines that belong to a property owner. A commercial line-locating firm or licensed plumber should be called in advance to mark all nonutility lines.)
How much does it cost?
- It’ s free. The 811 service does not charge for locating any utility lines or explaining state excavation laws.
What should you do after utility lines are marked?
- Take special care when working around all utility line markings
- Dig by hand in the tolerance zones indicated by the line markings.
- Even if you only nick, scrape or dent a natural gas pipeline, call 911 and then call Atmos Energy’s emergency number at 866-322-8667, so that it can inspect the pipeline and make any repairs. Even minor damage can weaken a pipeline and cause a future leak.