Decoding the Colors of Utility Markers: A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever noticed small, vibrant flags planted in the ground and wondered about their purpose? These flags are not random; they serve a crucial role in indicating the presence of underground utilities. They follow a color-coded system that reveals what type of utility is buried underneath. Here’s an explanation of what each color signifies.

Decoding the Colors of Utility Markers: A Comprehensive Guide

The Standardized Color Code by the American Public Works Association (APWA)

In the United States, the American Public Works Association (APWA) has set a standardized color code for identifying underground utilities. This system aids in preventing mishaps and damages during digging operations.

What Each Color Represents

  • Red: Electrical power lines, cables, conduits, and lighting wires.
  • Yellow: Gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or other materials that are gaseous or flammable.
  • Orange: Telecommunication, alarm or signal wires, cables, or conduits.
  • Blue: Drinking water.
  • Purple: Recycled water, irrigation, and slurry pipes.
  • Green: Sewer and drainage lines.
  • White: Proposed digging limits or route.
  • Pink: Temporary survey markings, unknown/unidentified facilities.

Recognizing the color coding of utility markers is vital for safety, particularly before initiating any digging or excavation work. Always ensure to contact your local utility locating service before you dig to make sure all utilities are accurately marked and to avoid any potential harm or damage.

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