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Buried alive: the markings of subterranean infrastructure

Maybe you’ve noticed paint marks sprayed on pavement.┬áIf it’s not a style of graffiti chances are you’re looking at code for a buried utility line.

utility lines
public utility lines

Depending on the colour paint, the unseen conduit could be carrying sewage or drinking water. How do you know which? Well, it turns out, excavators know which lines lay beneath. There’s an international colour code for utility markings. (ANSI Standard Z53.1) Learning industry codes, parts and processes make for another interesting day in the field of tech writing.

American Public Works Association color code
American Public Works Association color code

By Pam Drucker

Documentation specialist, procedures writer

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