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White Lining in the Winter

By Lareina Taing

Planning an excavation project this winter? One essential step that you should take before contacting your local 811 notification center is to white line your proposed excavation area. According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), white lining is the practice of marking your route of excavation with “white paint, flags, stakes, or a combination of these to outline the dig site prior to notifying the one call center and before the locator arrives on the job. [White lining] allows the excavators to accurately communicate to facility owners/operators or their locator where excavation is to occur.”1 Although white lining requirements vary from state to state, it helps to eliminate the locating of underground facilities that are not involved in the work area and reduces unnecessary paint marks on streets, sidewalks, and other areas.

Placing white marks in specific states during winter can be tricky when snow is present. You may be wondering, “How do I place white marks when it snows?”

Recommended practices for marking in the snow:

  1. As a general rule, an excavator can use different colored paint, flags, or stakes, other than colors listed in the APWA Color Code as an alternative to pre-marking with white. Remember to indicate the use of alternate colored markings on your locate request. While filing an online ticket, you may have the option of uploading an attachment to further describe the proposed excavation area.
  2. Identify your entire proposed excavation area to allow locators to properly mark your utility lines. Click here for the CGA guidelines for excavation delineation.
  3. Properly maintain your marks until all utility lines are located. If the snow melts and your locate marks are lost, contact your local notification center to get your excavation area remarked.

White lining is an important step in the safe digging process. Although it can be a difficult task in the winter, doing so will help prevent any miscommunication with the locator and enhance the protection of buried utilities. Stay safe and white line your proposed excavation area before filing your locate request!

Source1: CGA. Click here for more information.