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Atmos Energy: Please don't dig unless you have to

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Posted at 10:50 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 11:50:13-04

While a lot of people are looking for something to do, Atmos Energy is asking that you don't dig unless you have to, for safety reasons.

"Millions of Americans are sheltering in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Damaging an underground natural gas pipeline, even a minor damage, can cause a leak or rupture and lead to evacuations and have detrimental consequences," a release from the company states. "Whether you are a professional excavator or working on an at-home-project, it is imperative that you evaluate the critical need of the digging project during this pandemic."

The stakes are very high, officials say.

“We want to make sure our employees, customers and communities remain safe” said John McDill, Atmos Energy vice president of pipeline safety. “Unless an outdoor project is essential, we ask homeowners and contractors to postpone digging. If you must dig, always call 811 first.”

The company's release states:

"Because the stakes are so high, we are asking homeowners and contractors to delay non-essential digging. If you must dig, take extreme caution and make sure you ALWAYS call 811 first to have utilities marked before you dig. Call 8-1-1 at least two days before digging. Calling 811 is free and helps protect millions of miles of underground utility lines that are necessary for everyday life. Visit http://call811.com/811-your-state for state-specific guidelines."