What Are Underground Utilities?
The term “utility” relates to services that public utility companies provide. These services include electricity, water, natural gas, sewage, cable, phone lines, etc. Underground utilities” is the vast infrastructure of cables and pipes hidden under the ground, typically under a garden, yard, or landscape. Every residential or commercial property, big and small, will have underground utility lines that must be considered during any landscape or construction project.
Types of Underground Utilities
The APWA (American Public Works Association) provides Uniform Color Codes in the US. These color codes are used for the temporary marking of all underground utilities. They are applied using flags, chalk, paint, or stakes to indicate the presence and route of various underground utilities.
This standard, uniform color-coding helps municipalities, utility companies, excavators, landscapers and contractors, and other property workers avoid unnecessary damage and accidents. These are the different types of underground utilities and the color code used for the category:
Communication Lines (Cable/Data)
Alarm or signal lines, Telecommunications, cables, or conduits are orange, and they are generally placed near the power lines.
Electric power lines, conduits, lighting cables, and cables are generally red. The color indicates danger as the high voltage electricity flow will be present in these lines that provide power to a home or commercial structure.
Natural Gas Pipes
Natural gas, petroleum, oil, steam, or other flammable/gaseous material are yellow. These lines may be installed slightly lower than the water and swear lines, but not always. Extra caution must be taken when digging around these lines as any damage to them can create a hazardous situation.
Drain and sewer lines are green and are bigger than standard pipes that carry water to a structure or the landscape.
Drinking water pipes are blue. Reclaimed water, slurry, and irrigation lines are purple. This color coding differentiation is crucial to help workers distinguish between potable and non-potable water lines.
Consider Using an Underground Utility Locating Service
You can locate the overall direction of the utility lines yourself. However, you should always confirm this through a locating service before digging and excavating. Over time, as services get added to the property, people dig trenches, and sod or soil is placed above them.
Unless marked, people quickly forget the trench locations. When someone sells their home, they rarely communicate the underground utility line’s locations to the new owner, which can pose a problem if they want to carry out any outdoor digging as part of their landscaping project.
The Importance of Location Services
A well-established, reliable site development and utilities company will always be careful about underground utility lines when handling any landscaping project involving any form of digging in outdoor spaces. During these types of projects, our team asks the property owner for plans and layouts they may have. If these are not available, we recommend hiring a location service.
For information about our superior landscaping services, contact Gibbs Excavating & Grading at this number - 615-419-2457. We are an experienced, licensed, insured operator focusing on providing our clients with customized services. You can also drop us a line through this online form to request a free estimate for your project.