Have you ever been out walking in your neighborhood and noticed a bunch of colored flags in someone’s yard? I know I have. Are they having a party? Probably not. Those flags actually mean something and they are there for good reason. Raleigh and Wake Forest homeowners that are going to do any type of digging in their yard must contact all the companies that have any type of lines in the yard. It is your responsibility if you hit one. Damaging one could cost you $1,000s of dollars or cause serious injury. One way you can protect yourself is to call 811 and let them advise the companies. You should always call 811 for any tree removal and any type of project that involves any type of digging or even moving large objects around that might pierce the ground. Some of these lines are not as deep as you think! 811 will reach out to the utility companies and advise them of what the project is, where it is located in the yard, and the company will determine if they need to come and mark the lines. You need to contact 811 about 10 days before any project starts. Once they have marked the utility lines you will know what areas to avoid.
What do all the colors mean? Here is a basic breakdown:
-Red flags represent electrical lines.
-Orange flags outline telecommunication lines, alarms, or cable/ internet.
-Yellow flags represent natural gas.
-Green flags help highlight sewer and drain lines.
-Blue flags represent drinking water.
-Pink flags are for temporary survey lines
-Violet flags are for reclaimed water and irrigation lines.
Once those lines are marked they are good for about 15 days. Dig carefully around the marked area and if you ever smell gas or if anything doesn’t seem right stop immediately and call 911 right away.
You might notice spray painted lines or dotted lines also. You will find these when there is no dirt and it is over hard surfaces. An example of this will be over concrete or asphalt. Typically marked when major projects are about to begin.
With each new project you do you will need to call and have the areas marked again. Once an area is marked take a picture for future reference in case something happens. For example, if a tree gets uprooted by the weather. You will know if there is any immediate danger.
We hope this helps you with your next outdoor project!