Protecting underground utilities is even more important than ever before
ATLANTA – April 3, 2020 –With millions sheltering in place, many homeowners and do-it-yourselfers are taking this time to tackle household projects. As the weather warms, projects may move outdoors – from planting a tree to installing a new fence or mailbox. Knowing where underground utility lines are before you dig helps prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient service outages, which is critical with more people dependent upon the energy they need to fuel their lives and bring comfort during this time.
Atlanta Gas Light reminds members of the Georgia community, whether they are a professional excavator or do-it-yourself homeowner, state law requires a call to 811 before starting any outdoor digging project.
According to Common Ground Alliance, a national advocacy organization focused on preventing damage to underground infrastructure, there are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the U.S. This critical infrastructure, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer and fiber optic cable, is damaged every few minutes because someone made the mistake of digging without calling 811 first.
A free call made to 811 notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent free of charge to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and/or spray paint. If Atlanta Gas Light has natural gas pipelines in the area, their approximate location will be marked with yellow paint and/or flags. Once all lines have been marked, it is important that residents and excavators respect the marks and use the appropriate tools to dig with care according to legal, safe digging practices.
“There is no need for the contractor or homeowner to be present when utility lines are marked, nor converse with the workers to show where to make the locate marks,” said Wendall Dallas, vice president of Atlanta Gas Light. “This provides contractors and homeowners peace of mind knowing they are complying with the current social distancing guidelines and completing their project safely.”
The safe delivery of natural gas is paramount to everything we do. Atlanta Gas Light has taken appropriate precautions to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers while continuing to maintain our business operations. This includes limiting home visits to emergency responses and customer-driven work, adhering to social distancing guidelines, wearing personal protective equipment when necessary and enabling employees to work from home.
Utility workers are essential employees. We remain committed to doing our part to protect customers health and safety, and we encourage Georgians to join us in our efforts to protect underground utilities. Call 811 or click www.georgia811.com before digging to help prevent injuries and property damage that may result in service outages and potential exposure.
If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally or the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas is present, call 911 or the Atlanta Gas Light 24-hour emergency phone line at 877-427-4321 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or create an open flame.
For more information about natural gas safety, visit atlantagaslight.com.
To help children learn more about underground utilities through fun, interactive games, visit the Safe Digging Arcade. Complete all eights activities to become a Safe Digging champion.
About Atlanta Gas Light
Atlanta Gas Light is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Atlanta Gas Light provides natural gas delivery service to more than 1.6 million customers in Georgia. In operation since 1856, the company is one of the oldest corporations in the state. For more information, visit atlantagaslight.com.
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.2 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with 685,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.
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