Locates and 811 Information:

Q: What is a locate?

A: Any company performing excavation is required by law to contact Colorado 811 to request a locate of the dig area prior to excavation. The purpose of the locate request is to have the existing underground utilities marked so that they can be avoided when performing the excavation. If there are multiple companies performing excavation on a job site, each company must enter their own locate ticket.

When an excavator enters a locate request, Colorado 811 issues a locate ticket notifying all utility owners in the work area of the locate request. Utility owners contract with locate companies to perform their locates. Utilities are required to respond within 2 business days. Locators are required to enter a “positive response” in the Colorado 811 system to notify the excavator of the ticket status. Ticket responses may state the ticket is complete or that it requires a QC, or a utility standby at time of excavation. Locators may also send responses indicating they have rescheduled the locate, or that they have cancelled the request due to weather, access issues or bad address. If the ticket is cancelled, the excavator must re-enter the request and wait for a new response. If locators do not enter a positive response by the due date, excavators are required to renotify the utility owner through Colorado 811 until utility owners complete the ticket and respond. No excavation shall occur until a positive response indicating the ticket is complete is received from all utility members on the ticket.

Utility owners and operators follow the APWA (American Public Works Association) standard color code to mark the locations of their underground facilities. The following colors are used:

  • RED – Electric Power Lines, Cables, Conduit and Lighting Cables
  • YELLOW – Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or Gaseous Materials
  • ORANGE – Communication, Alarm or Signal Lines, Cables or Conduit
  • BLUE – Potable Water
  • PURPLE – Reclaimed Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines
  • GREEN – Sewers and Drain Lines
  • WHITE – Proposed Excavation
  • PINK – Temporary Survey Markings

For more information about Colorado One Call Law visit

Q: What is a private locate?

A: Private utilities are owned by the owner of a property and will not be marked with your request. These can include water and sewer laterals, power to a detached garage, sprinkler/irrigation systems, lines connected to a propane tank or septic system, etc. Private utilities must be marked by the property owner or a private locating company prior to any excavation. A private locate may be necessary in order to confirm the dig site is clear of any private utilities. For example the excavator will want to confirm the location of a sewer lateral in order to be assured that it is outside the dig location. L & M Underground may perform private locates on a project or may hire a private locating company, depending on the site. The cost of private locates will be included in our proposal. For owners interested in obtaining private locates prior to work, Colorado 811 provides a list of private locating companies, please visit

Private Locates

Q: What is an Emergency Locate?

Q: What is an Emergency Locate? In the event of an emergency repair requiring excavation, such as power outage or broken water line, an excavator may enter an emergency locate request. Utilities must respond to emergency locate tickets as soon as possible, usually within a few hours. The excavator must be present at the work site in order to call an emergency ticket.

Q: What is Potholing?

A: When excavating within two feet of any utility mark, excavators are required by law to expose and visually verify the depth of the utility. For HDD operations with a bore path that parallels a utility within 3 feet, potholing should be required at the beginning and end of the bore and every 50 feet along the route. For HDD operations with a bore path that parallels a utility within 5 feet, potholing should be required at the beginning and end of the bore and every 200 feet along the route. Potholing should also be performed for all utilities crossing the path of HDD operations. Once the utility depth is determined, the excavation or bore will be planned to provide enough clearance to avoid damage to the utility. Generally a bore must provide at least two feet of separation above or below the existing utility.

Water vacuum excavation systems dig the pothole using high-pressure water to reduce and loosen the soil. The wet soil and mud slurry is removed to a spoil tank using a powerful vacuum. Potholes in concrete or asphalt will require a core hole, usually 8” in diameter, that will be repaired after all work is complete. Pothole plates and/or temporary cold mix may be placed in the core hole until excavations and boring is complete. Once work is complete, a permanent concrete or hot asphalt mix patch of the 8” core will be performed. For potholes in the right of way, restoration must follow the requirements of the local municipality. Each municipality has its own standards for restoration of the core holes. For instance, a few municipalities require 2’x2’ saw cut and patch, infrared asphalt, and or flowfill. Many municipalities will require the excavator to replace an entire sidewalk panel if there are two or more cores. Some require a panel replacement even if there is a single core.