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Thread: Best Practices Questions

  1. #1
    Right Wing Conspirator GWJ_CAS's Avatar
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    Default Best Practices Questions

    I am currently the President of NULCA and involved with updating industry marking standards and CGA Best Practices for the same. I would like the input from the folks who deal with this every day. One of the first items is related to colors for certain facilities;

    While "potable" water is marked in blue, what would you suggest for marking Chilled Water?

    What about pressurized storm drainage systems?

    What about steam lines?

    What other types of facilities do you mark that are outside of the normal water, sewer, gas, electric or telecom? Do you think marking colors and the associated facility types need to be updated?

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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    I only mark power and telecom, but the University of Virginia is in the area I run and they have their own in house locator. He marks like 8 or more separately classified utilities when its all said and done. Such as high temp water, chilled water, medium temp water, steam tunnels, high voltage, low voltage, etc etc.

    For steam tunnels he uses yellow paint with corridor marks, for all of the water he uses blue.

    Just yesterday we were on a job and he had to mark pneumatic tubes (like at a bank drive-thru) that carry blood samples that ran from the main hospital a few blocks over to a laboratory and also run to the Emily Couric Cancer Center. I think he used red paint with green dots for that? Im not sure how he picks his colors for infrastructure thats out of the ordinary. Im also aware of a bio-containment lab that has an underground glass tube that runs about 30ft from a drain in the building to an outdoor storage unit; its some very fragile glass that chemicals cant penetrate. Im also pretty sure that he has some underground oxygen lines running around the hospital but I have also heard that they were abandoned.

    I can get you in touch with him if you would like.. There is a lot of steam and water around UVA as well as other odd things..

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJ_CAS View Post
    I am currently the President of NULCA and involved with updating industry marking standards and CGA Best Practices for the same. I would like the input from the folks who deal with this every day. One of the first items is related to colors for certain facilities;

    While "potable" water is marked in blue, what would you suggest for marking Chilled Water?

    What about pressurized storm drainage systems?

    What about steam lines?

    What other types of facilities do you mark that are outside of the normal water, sewer, gas, electric or telecom? Do you think marking colors and the associated facility types need to be updated?
    I'm a Pure-est. I think the color should only be different if the excavation around the known utility would change depending on what the color was.

    I think Water should be blue, chilled water is still water and should still be blue. The label on the locates should suffice for identifying if it is Chilled water. Changing the colors will not change how the excavators will dig down on the utility.

    Pressurized storm (which we have a crap load of) should still be green

    Steam lines should have a different color.... Typically we paint the ones that are still in use Pink. Unfortunately Pink is still used for survey purposes.

    The utilities that we come across that don't have a specified color, and I don't believe fall directly under the normal colors are...

    Grounding- wires, grids, mats, etc... Right now we color them Pink.

    Tanks- Underground tanks. Right now it fluctuates between the color we belive that comes closest to the use of the tank. Fuel is Yellow, Sewage is Green, Storm is Green, waste oil is typically pink.

    I think there should be a difference between volatile product lines and non-volatile.

    I think you have to weigh the impact of any changes with the number of people who will use them. I think changing or including colors is only a sugar coating for the industry. I think we should put some of this effort on education and inclusion of day to day contract locators into more of the conversations on industry standards for output and education.

    mke

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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    Adding colors is adding complications as the spectrum for us is limited. It is impractical to have to determine which shade of blue indicates what lies below. Also UV light degrades the pigments of the paint and can change the appearance. I have noticed that orange tracer wire left sticking out of a hand hole soon bleaches out to yellow. I have used paint that in Sumer bleaches out to barely visible in a few days.

    Why not keep it simple and label the marks. Those that deal with such sites regularly have flags with the detailed information printed on them. Ex: "High Pressure Steam Pipe below".

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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    If you can get contractors to understand what white is used for, then the other stuff will take care of itself.
    The Big-E, Cheddar and phoenix827 like this.

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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    Whatever plan that keeps the number of assorted colors of paint and flags out of my truck is the one I vote for.
    The Big-E likes this.

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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    Steam lines are a gas- yellow

    Chilled water is water- blue

    Pressurized storm carries untreated water- green

    Any oil or waste oil are all petroleum lines- yellow

    Grounding wires are electric- red

    Control wires are communication- orange

    It's all about what it contains, or in wires, what purpose it is used for. I can't think of any need for new colors. Sorry Mke, but it bugs me when I see utilities marked pink, it's the wrong color.

    In my opinion the "best practice" that you should be trying to change is about induction. It is necessary and should be listed as such.
    daman1, UULC and Kramit69 like this.

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    Senior Member CableAvoidanceTool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    Has anyone found an actual useful purpose for the color brown? It has got to be the most underused color in the industry.

    The only use I could think of, is that a locator wanted to erase something he did on dirt. But typically Black is the color that is universally accepted as erasing things so normally that is used even on brown dirt.

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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by CableAvoidanceTool View Post
    Has anyone found an actual useful purpose for the color brown? It has got to be the most underused color in the industry.

    <SNIP>
    Marking septic tank?

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by headcipher View Post
    Steam lines are a gas- yellow

    Chilled water is water- blue

    Pressurized storm carries untreated water- green

    Any oil or waste oil are all petroleum lines- yellow

    Grounding wires are electric- red

    Control wires are communication- orange

    It's all about what it contains, or in wires, what purpose it is used for. I can't think of any need for new colors. Sorry Mke, but it bugs me when I see utilities marked pink, it's the wrong color.

    In my opinion the "best practice" that you should be trying to change is about induction. It is necessary and should be listed as such.
    Cipher,
    I agree. I think marking utilities in pink is stupid. i don't use it to be lazy. Especially when it comes to grounding. I use the two different colors to signify two different depths. When you are digging near FAA installations the grounding is important. I tell the excavators that the pink is the counter poise and is only 12" down. Where as the electrical is down at three. The color difference is solely to help the ones digging. If I had another red color that wasn't in use already, grounding would be red.

    I did however, work with a guy who painted everything in pink.... He is no longer with the company. Note that I only use alternative colors for three reasons, none are laziness. 1) help excavator visually. 2) not allowed to use appropriate color. 3) if the use of the appropriate color clouds the detail needed for the locate.

    I know it sounds like a lot of gobelty goop, but in short I'm fine with my use of pink to signify whatever I need it to.

    I once painted an entire locate all in white paint because the excavator was colorblind. As locators, you need to assess the request and mark it appropriately. On a side note, it's not like Im spraying every request pink. I've had the same two half used cans of pink in my truck for the past 6 months... I'm good on my usage

    Mke

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    Default Re: Best Practices Questions

    I would like to see a color added for unidentifiable utilities. This might not help contract locators, but private locators mark utilities that cannot be identified all the time. (Example: Abandoned pipe fragments, with no existing above ground features remaining). I have used both pink, and silver paint for this purpose - the color isn't important, the key is distinguishing it from other known utility colors. This is normally done with labeling and walking customers through field findings upon completion. I have also known of other private utility locators who mark unknown utilities in red so that no one assumes its abandoned, and treats it with as much sensitivity as say a live power line. I don't recommend, as I think verbal communication and explaining you don't know if its live or dead, or what it is - is a good enough warning.
    Nb22x likes this.

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