What do the different colours mean?
When you go for a walk, do you ever think of what those coloured lines painted on the sidewalk or street mean?
Before disturbing the ground for any type of work, you must by law request locates from the local call center for utility locates and hire a private locate service provider if you are digging on private property to locate any privately-owned buried facilities. When locates are performed, a locate technician will trace buried facilities such as natural gas, electric, communication, water, or sewer lines and mark the location of the buried facility on the ground with spray marking paint or flags.
Each colour indicates what is buried beneath the mark and both PUBLIC and PRIVATE buried facilities are marked with the following APWA Uniform Colours:
RED – Electric Power Lines, Cables, Conduit and Lighting Cables
These cables include high and low voltage electric cables.
YELLOW – Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or Gaseous Materials
These lines can include natural gas, fuel oil, and propane lines for heating, pipelines and any other type of buried pipe that transports gaseous materials.
ORANGE – Communication, Alarm or Signal Lines, Cables or Conduit
These lines can include telephone and television cable services such as Bell, Rogers and Cogeco and any other communication cable used for private use.
BLUE – Potable Water
These lines include municipal water services for potable (drinkable) and fire suppression use and water lines from private wells.
PURPLE – Non-Potable Water
Used for non-drinkable water sources such as grey water, pond water, reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines.
GREEN - Sewer
These sewer lines can include sanitary and storm gravity or force lines, and privately-owned septic systems.
PINK – Temporary Survey Markings
Pink has widely been used by surveyors for marking, however, since the inception of Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE), this industry has adopted pink for its purpose as well. SUE Locate Technicians will be hired to mark and survey all the buried facilities on a property to allow for decision making of construction design.
WHITE – Proposed Excavation
White paint is used by the person performing the ground disturbance to mark the proposed dig area to give clear direction to the locate technician where the work is being performed. Also referred to as white lining, symbols such as borehole symbols should be marked in white paint. In winter months, we suggest that boreholes and dig area extents are marked in pink paint.