Cryptic Codes of a Utility Locator

Utility Marks Made by Utility LocatorsYou would sometimes find cities across the country which has spray-painted symbols and mysterious signs all over the streets and sidewalks. You have probably seen these kinds of markings on the streets and sidewalks. These markings are so prevalent that they go largely unnoticed. Paints of different colors, arrows pointing towards different directions, and letters and numbers scribbled on public surfaces which may seem like a secret language to those who are not familiar with it. These arcane signs are placed by a trained utility locator to communicate messages among a specialized audience with a trained eye. These multi-colored lines, arrows and diamonds denote the presence of an underground infrastructure or encode some instructions for construction or maintenance workers.

To a common citizen, these marks and symbols may mean nothing, but to the utility crews who are working their way to the underground of the busy streets of the city, these paints are an indispensable part of their work. The different colors mean different things; yellow for gas, red for electricity, blue for water and green for sewer. The arrows tell the directions where the lines are running and approximately how wide they are.

These markings are required under state law. It was first implemented in California after a petroleum pipeline was accidentally cut through by construction workers in 1976. That incident resulted in a fatal explosion which destroyed almost half of a city block. In order to prevent future accidents, DigAlert was developed to communicate vital information necessary for anyone who will do construction works or excavations. The American Public Works Association has then established a systematic color code to identify underground infrastructures.

Before anyone is cleared to dig, whether it’s a small or large project, he must contact DigSafe (811) at least 72 hours before the intended project. As part of the pre-work, a utility locator will mark the streets and sidewalks to determine the utilities hidden beneath the ground.

Utility Color Codes for a Utility Locator

The standard utility color code can be located in the callbeforeyoudig website.