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How do I mark around buried facilities?

Closing the loop / Positive Response
Disposition Codes
Entering APR Dispositions on the Web
Marking out a buried facility
What is "Legal Notice?"
What is APR?

When you lay down paint, flags or stakes to indicate the presence of a buried facility, according to NYS law the color of the marker should correspond with the following:

Red Electric
Yellow Gas / Oil / Steam
Orange Communications / CATV
Blue Water
Green Sewer
Pink Survey Markings
White Proposed Excavation

In addition, you'll probably wish to designate who the facility belongs to, or perhaps what specific type of facility it is. NYSCR753 allows for Uniform Identification Letters. "All staking and marking ... shall contain letter designations which will clearly identify the type of underground facility so staked or marked. Such letters shall comply with the following code:

There are several marking styles available to indicate how wide your facility is:

Common Marking Styles

Style 1, indicates width of facility

Usually indicates a large facility or conduit. The dashed lines indicate the outer edges of the facility.

Style 2, indicates width of facility

Usually indicates a large facility or conduit. The width of the facility is indicated (24"in the example).

Style 3, for pipes, lines, and cables

Usually indicates small pipes or cable(s) of unknown size.

Tip: Facility operators should rarely suggest depth information. You know better than anyone that soil gets eroded or landscaped, plus you know what happens when rocks and other things are found as the facility is planted. If you use a style of markings with numbers next to them (like Style 2, above,) get into the habit of specifically mentioning that the numbers are how wide the facility is. Reenforce that one should never trust depth information, even if it is given!

Tip:When the excavator calls Dig|Safely. New York, they are given the list of utilities that will be notified. They are basically prohibited from starting the excavation until you have directly confirmed your response (the marking or clearing of the worksite). From the excavator's perspective, the presence of some orange markings does NOT mean all of the telephone lines have been located... there may be more than one telephone company (i.e. long distance and fiber carriers, etc.), the locator may not have finished marking, or some unknowing individual may have arbitrarily painted something with that color. After clearing or marking a worksite, aways make a callback to the excavator and notify them that the stakeout is complete. Otherwise, the excavator cannot get to work.

So, I've marked out where my facilities are... how will the excavator dig around them?

By law, each type of marking requires that the excavator observes a certain Tolerance Zone.

For markings that indicate width, the tolerance zone is the width of the facility plus 2 feet on either side.

For markings that do not indicate width, the tolerance zone is 2 feet on either side of the markings.

If any point in the following sequence may pose a problem, be certain to notify the excavator of any special needs that will be required:

Before the excavator can use mechanized digging equipment in a tolerance zone, they must first verify the presence and location of the buried facility.

This is traditionally done by creating hand-dug test holes in the area you expect the facility to be in. However, Vacuum Excavation is quickly becoming the new favorite method. [ more info on verification... ] Should it be necessary to remove pavement or masonry, the excavator may use mechanized equipment to remove the pavement or masonry - but only to the depth of that pavement or masonry. If your facilities are very shallow...

Once the excavator has found the facility, they may use mechanized digging equipment with some restrictions [ what are they? ] provided they do not endanger the facility.

If they are unable to find the facility after performing a reasonable search, the law says they cannot start the excavation. The excavator will contact you directly with their problem, and you should come out right away to help them find it.

If the excavator will be exposing a facility, they will be required to provide adequate support and protection for it. Again, if your facility has any special needs (cast iron? asbestos?) be certain the excavator understands what they are.

[ more info on support and protection... ]

In addition, the excavator will also be required to provide an adequate backfill when they finish. [ more info on backfilling... ]

Should the excavator ever come into contact with a buried facility, it's all described here...

... as is finding an unmarked facility.