Why Should I White Line?

Picture of DPC of TExas

DPC of TExas

Sometimes it may be difficult for excavators to effectively communicate the exact location of their dig sites to the One-Call Center. Exact site information is not limited to the address. It also includes specific descriptions within the site address such as front, back, right, or left side (when facing the structure); directions from a point of reference; and accurate distances from known points.

Recorded data has proven:
White lining decreases avoidable damages in all utilities. Some examples are:

  • Saving an estimated average of over $3000 per damage to water mains and service lines
  • Saving an estimated average of over $5000 to sewer wastewater mains & lower laterals

Protection of Underground Utilities
Because underground utilities are buried, at times they are forgotten. Calling 8-1-1 can not only protect you, your crew, your neighbors, and your community, it also eliminates the chance of accidents.
White lining increases productivity and reduces wasted time and effort in the call before you dig and excavation process. White lining also increases worksite safety by improving accuracy and allowing the locator to focus on a specified, identified work area.

In the event a utility is damaged, white lining vastly improves the investigative process. A white lined work area allows for a quick and efficient set of damage investigation photos.  

Underground facility locators are looking for specific information that lets them know where to mark.  Before you call or submit a locate request to 811, take the time to pre-mark your dig area in water-based white paint or white flags. Marking your job site in white can drastically decrease the amount of time it will take to explain the exact location of your excavation area.

White lining around a proposed excavation area instructs locators where to spend time finding underground utilities once they arrive on site. Because the locator has a clear indication of the excavation area, less time is spent on areas where excavation will not occur. This gives the locator the time to accurately locate underground facilities that need protection during excavation, making your work site safer.

Excavators who take the time to white line their job sites will provide guidance to the locators marking the underground facilities at or near the site of the proposed excavation.  This best practice is one of the easiest tools you can use to increase the efficiency of the one-call process. Work site locate information on a ticket may be clear to one person but may not be clear to another. White paint on a job site eliminates the guesswork. Locators will have a clearly marked excavation area to help avoid any misinterpretation and allow for more accurate locates.

Additional Benefits to White Lining

  • Worksites are located with more accuracy
  • Work can begin on timewith fewer delays
  • Reduces the cost of overall payroll for additional manpower 
  • Eliminates guesswork or misinterpretation
  • Increases customer satisfaction

David Fergusoon

Damage Prevention Manager, Texas811

Ketha Molina

Director, DPC of Texas