At one time or another, you’ve probably noticed small flags of various colors placed in the grass around town or in your neighborhood. Sometimes the grass is also marked with paint. What does this mean?

It means someone in the vicinity is planning to do some digging and they called 811 and/or a private utility locating company (like Baker Utitliy Partners!) to mark the areas where utilities such as gas, phone and electricity have been buried. If these lines are not marked and someone digs up a line, it could be detrimental.

But what do all the different colors mean? The American Public Works Association has color-coded all utilities so it’s easy for those in the industry to immediately identify what utility is running where. Here’s a key to the flags’ colors:

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

Orange: Telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit

Yellow: Natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum or other gaseous or flammable material

Green: Sewers and drain lines

Blue: Drinking water

Violet: Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines

Pink: Temporary survey markings, unknown/unidentified facilities

White: Proposed excavation limits or route

If flags are in your yard, please do not remove them. If they’re marked with a logo and the name of the utility, feel free to give them a call to inquire about their placement, but for safety purposes, remember to leave them where they are.