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Low Impact Marking Practices

Whether requesting a new locate ticket or renewing an existing ticket, excavators are required to follow low impact-marking practices when preparing the work site for locates and to request a more efficient locate ticket. The goal of these practices is to reduce unnecessary locate marks and the length of time they remain on the ground. The guidelines appear below. An educational Powerpoint show has been developed to further explain the low impact marking practices. Click here to view or download.


Locate tickets should cover only those portions of a work site where digging will occur within 30 calendar days of the date the ticket is requested.

Know the job site and give an accurate description of where it is located. Addresses, street intersections, railroad tracks, references to natural landmarks and driving directions are helpful.


When renewing tickets for jobs lasting longer than 30 calendar days, identify only the areas where excavation is yet to occur (i.e. eliminate any areas where digging is complete). Remind office staff to call the field contact to confirm whether the locate ticket should be renewed and clarify what portion of the work site is incomplete. 

* If your office staff renews tickets, let them know when an ongoing project is complete so that tickets are not continually requested for that job.


Work sites that are difficult to describe should be premarked (white lined) if the excavator and member have not mutually agreed otherwise. The 500-foot limitation for premarking a work site has been eliminated.




Other Helpful Tips

  • Tell exactly where on the job site the digging will occur and how deep it will be.
  • Note any special conditions that may interfere with the locator doing his job such as a gated community, locked fences or a vicious dog.



chk_mrk Acceptable marking products for premarking a proposed excavation in white or marking underground facilities: flags, stakes, temporary/non-permanent paint, other industry accepted low-impact marking practices.

Members are required to mark their underground facilities in appropriately designated colors.

  • Red: electric power line, cables, conduit and lighting cables
  • Orange: communications, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
  • Yellow: gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
  • Green: sewer lines
  • Blue: potable water
  • Purple: reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines