Spray paint on streets and roads means someone's digging, but the colors also mean something specific. JIM WITMER / STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer
Photo: Jim Witmer

What does it mean? All that paint on sidewalks and streets 

All those colored lines you see spray painted on the ground, streets and sidewalks typically mean one thing: someone’s going to start digging.  Each color tips off a worker to what’s underground.

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The lines identify where underground utilities run so those excavating nearby don’t hit a line and knock out phone service, the internet, electric, water or gas to an area of town. 

In Ohio, a specific color identifies certain underground services: 

Red - Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables. 

Yellow - Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials 

Orange - Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit 

Blue - Potable water 

Purple - Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines 

Green - Sewers and drain lines 

Pink - Temporary survey markings 

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By law, anyone digging is required to call 8-1-1 within 48 hours of beginning a job (excluding weekends and legal holidays). Each company will dispatch someone to mark that service with the corresponding color. 

But before the utilities get located, the person notifying 8-1-1 should use white paint to mark the job area so the locators don’t have to mark up sidewalks and streets with an unnecessary amount of paint.

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