Skip to main content.

National 811 Day efforts highlight the importance of contacting 811 before digging

ATLANTA – Aug. 11, 2021 Summertime is here, and for many homeowners, that means do-it-yourself home improvement projects like planting a tree or installing a fence or deck.

Aug. 11 is National 811 Day, and Atlanta Gas Light reminds residents and professional contractors across the region that the date serves as an important cue to always contact Georgia 811 before starting any outdoor digging project.

“Our number one priority is the safety of our employees, our customers and our communities,” said Pedro Cherry, president and CEO of Atlanta Gas Light. “Striking an underground utility is a real safety risk, but it’s largely avoidable with a call to 811. A single call can protect families and help keep communities safe.”

The Common Ground Alliance, a national nonprofit organization working to protect underground utility lines, says damage to covered pipe and cable happens once every few minutes because of digging near unmarked utility lines. While large excavation projects often cause these mistakes, a homeowner’s simple mailbox installation or even a modest gardening project can lead to striking infrastructure that is right underground.

Whether a homeowner with a shovel or a professional excavator with an earthmover, Georgia state law requires a call to 811 at least three business days before starting any digging project. Atlanta Gas Light has approximately 34,000 miles of underground natural gas pipeline along with other utility companies’ underground communication cables, water and sewer lines. Knowing the location of underground utilities helps prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient service outages.

When homeowners and contractors connect with Georgia811, it notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent – for free – to the requested dig site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.

Atlanta Gas Light encourages homeowners and contractors to follow these safe digging guidelines and always dig with CARE:

  • Call or Click Before You DigBefore starting any outdoor digging project, customers should dial 811 or visit Georgia 811 at least three days in advance to request to have underground utility lines marked. Requests to have utility operators locate underground lines, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free. 
  • Allow the Required Time for Marking: After contacting Georgia 811, wait for underground utility lines to be marked before digging. Locators will mark the approximate location of buried lines with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes corresponding to the utility. The color used for natural gas is yellow. 
  • Respect the MarksOnly use hand digging tools to carefully uncover the area around a utility line when you need to dig near location markers.
  • Excavate CarefullyMake sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to contact Georgia 811 to have lines remarked.

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 1-877-427-4321 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or create an open flame.

Learn more about natural gas safety at




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

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 4.3 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states and approximately 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. 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

Media Contact:
Mekka Parish
c: 404.387.8067 |