Utility Flags and What the Colors Mean

22 Sep.,2022


irrigation flags


Utility companies use temporary colored flags to designate where underground utilities are located. The purpose is to avoid accidents and disruption in services when anyone is working on or close to buried utilities. The flags are placed by utility companies by request when work is being planned in any particular area.


The American Public Works Association, non-profit professional association, created a uniform color code for utility companies, both public and private. The colors have become the standard across the industries.


The meanings assigned to flag colors include the following:


     Blue: Potable, or drinkable, water

     Green: Sewers and drain lines

     Orange: Communication, alarm or signal lines, and cables or conduit

     Pink: Temporary survey markings

     Purple: Reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines

     Red: Electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lightning cables

     White: Proposed excavation

     Yellow: Gas, oil, steam, and petroleum and gaseous materials


The name, initials, or the logo of the company that owns or services the lines may be imprinted on the flags. Once flags have been placed, paint or chalk is used to mark the ground to indicate the route of the buried facilities.


When an excavation is being planned, it is normal for businesses to contact utilities so that buried facilities can be located and identified. Homeowners and occupants are also required to notify utilities before excavating their property by calling 811. That number is a federally designated “call before you dig” number for use by professionals and homeowners.


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