Spring is well upon us, and flowers are in bloom. Maybe you’re seeing some in your yard, or at a neighbor’s home. They are certainly in abundance at gardening centers!
Just like each blossom denotes a different flower – so do the tiny utility marker flags you are also seeing pop up like mushrooms as Texas’ digging season swings into high gear and underground utility locators fan out across the state.
Those flags mean a call has been made to 811 to get underground utilities and infrastructure located prior to excavation. Having them marked reduces the risk of a hit or cut to about one percent.
Here’s what the colors mean:
While all of these colors are important – and remember, they may also be shown as spray painted lines or messages – the red, yellow and orange flags should be flashing neon. Electric, gas, and telecom cables and pipelines are extremely hazardous. Electric and gas should be pretty self-explanatory for danger. Fiber optic lines are made of glass products, and when broken can splinter into very tiny pieces that can pierce your skin and work themselves in deep; worse, you could unwittingly ingest a tiny shard by wiping your work glove across your mouth without thinking or get it into your eyes.
The flags do not indicate the depth of the line that’s buried beneath them. They are simply guideposts telling you the approximate location of buried infrastructure. To find the buried utility, you must follow the rules of the tolerance zone – and we’ll tackle that topic next week.
Until next week, safe digging!