PA One Calls

In Pennsylvania, digging or excavating without knowing what lies beneath the surface can lead to dangerous consequences. To prevent accidental damage to underground utilities like gas, electric, water, sewer, stormwater and telecommunications lines, the Pennsylvania One Call System was established. This system helps excavators and homeowners by marking the location of underground utilities before any digging begins.

One key aspect of the Pennsylvania One Call System is the use of color-coded markings to indicate the type of utility buried underground. Understanding these colors is crucial for anyone planning to dig, as it helps prevent accidental damage and ensures the safety of both people and property.

Here’s a simple guide to understanding the colors used in Pennsylvania One Call markings:

  1. Red: Red markings typically indicate electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables. It’s essential to exercise extreme caution when digging near red markings, as contact with electric lines can result in serious injury or even death.
  2. Yellow: Yellow markings are used to signify underground gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or other hazardous liquid lines. Disturbing these lines can lead to gas leaks or other dangerous situations. If you encounter yellow markings, stop digging immediately and contact the appropriate authorities.
  3. Orange: Orange markings are commonly associated with communication lines, including telephone, cable TV, and fiber optic cables. While these lines may not pose an immediate danger to life, damaging them can disrupt essential services and incur costly repairs.
  4. Blue: Blue markings typically indicate potable water lines. Accidentally rupturing a water line can lead to water wastage, property damage, and service disruptions. Exercise caution when working near blue markings and avoid digging without proper authorization.
  5. Green: Green markings are used to identify sewer and stormwater lines. Damaging these lines can result in environmental contamination, health hazards, and costly repairs. If you encounter green markings, take appropriate precautions and notify the relevant authorities.
  6. Purple: Purple markings are less common but may indicate reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines. These lines may not pose an immediate danger to life, but damaging them can result in water wastage and environmental concerns.

Remember, these color codes are standardized to ensure consistency and clarity across Pennsylvania. Ignoring or misinterpreting these markings can have severe consequences, including personal injury, property damage, and legal liabilities.

Before starting any excavation or digging project, always contact Pennsylvania One Call at 8-1-1 at least three business days in advance to request utility markouts. By doing so, you’ll help protect yourself, your community, and the underground infrastructure essential for modern living.