Atmos: Most gas line cuts caused by contractors

Atmos: Most gas line cuts caused by contractors

Posted:
LUBBOCK, Texas -

People taking on new construction projects this summer should probably watch where they dig.

Lubbock Fire Rescue answered 13 cut gas line calls within the last two weeks, including two on Tuesday.

Marinda Heinrich, with Atmos Energy, said three out of four of these incidents are caused by third party contractors.

"I think a lot of times they will call 8-1-1, and everything will be marked, but we need to make sure they're just doing the safe digging practices," Heinrich said.

By law, individuals must call 8-1-1 two days in advance of digging to have all utility lines located and marked.

"It's what really helps protect everyone from injury and damage to pipelines that can be very costly and also can be very dangerous," she said.

Once those flags are put down, Heinrich said make sure to give them a lot of space.

"There is a tolerance zone on either side of the flagging or marking that are on the ground, 18 inches on either side of that flagging or that marking," she said. "You're not supposed to be digging anywhere near there."

If one must dig near the tolerance zone, do it by hand. She said using a backhoe or other heavy equipment could cause "a lot" of damage,

If you hit a line, get out of the area and call 9-1-1. You should also call Atmos Energy at 866-322-8667, so the company can inspect the pipeline and make any repairs. Heinrich said even minor damage could corrode a line and cause a future leak.

"Once you hit one of those pipelines, it could be very costly and it could be very dangerous," Heinrich said.

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