Understanding the Marks

Operator markings of facilities include the following:

• The appropriate color for their facility type

• Their company identifier (name, initials, or abbreviation) when other companies are using the same color

• The total number of facilities and the width of each facility

• A description of the facility (HP, FO, STL, etc).

Use paint, flags, stakes, whiskers, or a combination to identify the operator’s facility(s) at or near an excavation site.

1. Marks in the appropriate color are approximately 12 in. to 18 in. long and 1 in. wide, spaced approximately 4 ft to 50 ft apart. When marking facilities, the operator considers the type of facility being located, the terrain of the land, the type of excavation being done, and the method required to adequately mark the facilities for the excavator. (Illustration 1)

2. The following marking examples illustrate how an operator may choose to mark their subsurface installations:

a. Single Facility Marking: Used to mark a single facility. This can be done in one of two ways • placing the marks over the approximate center of the facility. (Illustration 2a1) or

• placing the marks over the approximate outside edges of the facility with a line connecting the two horizontal lines (in the form of an H) to indicate there is only one facility. (Illustration 2a2)

These examples indicate an operator’s 12 in. facility. When a facility can be located or toned separately from other facilities of the same type, it is marked as a single facility.41

b.Multiple Facility Marking: Used to mark multiple facilities of the same type (e.g., electric), where the separation does not allow for a separate tone for each facility, but the number and width of the facilities is known. Marks are placed over the approximate center of the facilities and indicate the number and width of the facilities. Example: four plastic facilities that are 4 in. in diameter (4/4” PLA). (Illustration 2b)

c.Conduit Marking: Used for any locatable facility being carried inside conduits or ducts. The marks indicating the outer extremities denote the actual located edges of the facilities being represented. Example: four plastic conduits that are 4 in. in diameter (4/4” PLA), and the marks are 16 in. apart, indicating the actual left and right edges of the facilities. (Illustration 2c)

d.Corridor Marking: Used to mark multiple facilities of the same type (e.g., electric), bundled or intertwined in the same trench, where the total number of facilities is not readily known (operator has no record on file for the number of facilities). Marks are placed over the approximate center of the facilities and indicate the width of the corridor. The width of the corridor is the distance between the actual located outside edges of the combined facilities. Example: a 12 in. corridor (12” CDR). (Illustration 2d)

3. Changes in direction and lateral connections are clearly indicated at the point where the change in direction or connection occurs, with an arrow indicating the path of the facility. A radius is indicated with marks describing the arc. When providing off set markings (paint or stakes), show the direction of the facility and distance to the facility from the markings. Example: radius (Illustration 3a)

4. An operator’s identifier (name, abbreviation, or initials) is placed at the beginning and at the end of the proposed work. In addition, subsequent operators using the same color mark their company identifier at all points where their facility crosses another operator’s facility using the same color. Reduce the separation of excavation marks to a length that can reasonably be seen by the operator’s locators when the terrain at an excavation site warrants. Examples:

5. Information regarding the size and composition of the facility is marked at an appropriate frequency. Examples: the number of ducts in a multi-duct structure, width of a pipeline, and whether it is steel, plastic, cable, etc.

6. Facilities installed in a casing are identified as such. Examples: 6 in. plastic in 12 in. steel and fiber optic in 4 in. steel.

7. Structures such as vaults, inlets, and lift stations that are physically larger than obvious surface indications are marked so as to define the parameters of the structure. Example:

8. Termination points or dead ends are indicated as such.  Example:

9. When there is “No Conflict” with the
excavation, complete one or more of the
• Operators of a single type of facility (e.g.,
TELCO) mark the area “NO” followed by
the appropriate company identifier in the
matching APWA color code for that facility.
Example: NO TELCO
• Operators of multiple facilities mark the
area “NO” followed by the appropriate
company identifier in the matching APWA
color code for that facility with a slash and
the abbreviation for the type of facility for
which there is “No Conflict.” Example: NO
GASCO/G/D illustrates that GASCO has
no gas distribution facilities at this excavation
site. The following abbreviations are
used when appropriate: /G/D (gas distribution);
/G/T (gas transmission); /E/D (electric
distribution); /E/T (electric transmission).
• Place a clear plastic (translucent) flag that
states “No Conflict” in lettering matching the
APWA color code of the facility that is not
in conflict. Include on the flag the operator’s
identifier, phone number, a place to write the
locate ticket number, and date. Operators of
multiple facilities indicate on the flag which
facilities are in “No Conflict” with the excavation
(see the previous example).
• If it can be determined through maps or
records that the proposed excavation is obviously
not in conflict with their facility, the
locator or operator of the facility may notify
the excavator of “No Conflict” by phone,
fax, or e-mail, or through the One Call
Center, where electronic positive response
is used. Operators of multiple facilities indicate
a “No Conflict” for each facility (see
the previous examples)

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