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What Is A Valid Locate?

Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

In our last blog we discussed that April is Dig Safe month across North America and the importance of safe digging practices by having proper locates called in and obtained before you dig.. But what constitutes a valid (proper) locate? Contrary to popular belief a valid locate is not just having paint on the ground but also requires you to have a physical, paper copy of the locates onsite. This copy cannot be digital, that means even though you may have the saved files on a tablet or cell phone you are not allowed to use them as valid locates to commence excavation. A physical copy must always be present onsite.

Now that you have your locate papers and paint is on the ground, what does it all mean? Here is an excellent breakdown of what type of information you can find on your completed locate papers courtesy of Digsafe Ontario.

HOMEOWNER - How to read your locate form_Page_1

HOMEOWNER - How to read your locate form_Page_2

The paint on the ground has a uniform colour code that was developed by the American Public Works Association (AWPA) and is standardized throughout North America for marking buried utilities. This colour code is also endorsed by the Canadian Standards Association in CSA S250-11 (source: Underground Infrastructure Damage Prevention – Best Practices Version 1.0). Here is a breakdown of what each color stands for:

Colour Type of Facility/Indicator
 Red Electric power lines, cables, conduits and lighting cables
 Yellow Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
 Orange Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
 Blue Potable water
 Green Sewers and drain lines
 Pink Temporary survey markings
 Purple Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines
 White Proposed excavation

Regardless if you are a home owner or a contractor the law in Ontario states that you have to have valid locates in order to excavate. For more information on safe digging you can check out www.digsafe.ca for guidelines regulations. Make your next outdoor project a success by calling in proper locates. It will save you both time and money and, more importantly keep you, and those working with you, safe.