What do the markings mean?

My lawn is marked and I didn’t call 811.  Why?

Utility operators maintain the underground pipes and wires that serve your home.  Part of their maintenance program is to mark their lines whenever someone places a “notice” or “ticket” with the Virginia 811 center.

Utility operators mark any underground line that is directly in the way of construction, or even near it.  If your lawn is marked and you didn’t know about it, then either your neighbors are planning some work, a utility operator is planning maintenance or repair, or the Virginia Department of Transportation, or your Town, City, or County is planning excavation work.  Use our Ticket Search link below to see what work is planned.

Ticket Search

For GPS-enabled devices, use our Location Enhanced Ticket Search or LETS application to view tickets in your area.

Location Enhanced Ticket Search 


What do the markings mean?

Many people call us wondering why grass near their home is marked or what the markings mean.

Utility color codes are used to identify existing underground utilities in construction areas with the intent of protecting them from damage during excavation. This is done through flags or a special spray paint, neither of which will cause long-term harm to your lawn.

The American Public Works Association (APWA) Uniform Color Codes for temporary marking of underground utilities are listed below:


electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables


telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables, or conduit


natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or other gaseous or flammable material


sewers and drain lines


potable (drinkable) water


reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines


proposed excavation limits or route