When the excavation site cannot be clearly and adequately identified on the locate ticket, the excavator designates the route and/or area to be excavated using white premarking prior to the arrival of the locator.
The route of the excavation is marked with white paint, flags, stakes, or a combination of these to outline the dig site prior to notifying the one call center and before the locator arrives on the job. Premarking allows the excavators to accurately communicate to facility owners/operators or their locator where excavation is to occur. The 1997 safety study “Protecting Public Safety through Excavation Damage Prevention” by the NTSB reached the conclusion that premarking is a practice that helps prevent excavation damage. Maine was one of the first states to have mandatory premarking for non-emergency excavations. Connecticut also adopted a premarking requirement; however, the law provides for face-to-face meetings between operators and excavators on projects that are too large for or not conductive to premarking. Facility owners/operators can avoid unnecessary work created when locating facilities that are not associated with planned excavation. (See Appendix B for additional practice information)