What is underground warning tape used for?

Underground warning tape is buried directly above underground utility lines and warns workers to stop digging before accidentally digging into the underground lines. When used correctly, underground warning tape can mitigate the risk of inaccurate or dangerous digging around electrical, gas, water, communication or oil lines. And when dig-ins are avoided, the associated costly service interruptions and unnecessary repair expenses are also avoided.  Plus, preventing the accidental dig-ins also helps keep evacuation crews safe from harm.

As an additional advantage, underground warning tape uses color to communicate the type of buried utility line.  Underground warning tapes conform to the uniform color standard created by the American Public Works Association (APWA) for warning tapes.  Color codes include:

  • white for proposed excavation 
  • red for cables, electric power lines, conduit 
  • pink for temporary survey markings 
  • orange for communication, signal lines conduit, alarm 
  • yellow for steam, petroleum, gas, oil, gaseous substances
  • purple for reclaimed water, slurry lines, irrigation
  • blue for potable water 
  • green for drain lines and sewers

"This marking guide provides for universal use and understanding of the temporary marking of subsurface facilities to prevent accidents and damage or service interruption by contractors, excavators, utility companies, municipalities or any others working on or near underground facilities," the APWA states.

Underground warning tapes are available as standard non-detectable polyethylene tape or as detectable warning tape. Detectable tape is constructed with an aluminum film and is used to locate underground utility lines using a non-ferrous locator. Having the ability to locate underground lines without digging is an advantage, whether for the purpose of finding the lines, or avoiding them during excavation.

At Stranco, our selection of Underground Warning Tape and Detectable Warning Tape ensures we have the right tape for your next project.  Their durability and conformance to APWA color standards, make them the ideal choice for marking underground utility lines. The color coding and bold black legends effectively identify the specific type of utility line below. If you look through our wide variety of products and cannot find the right tape you need, feel free to contact our excellent customer service team, where they can speak with you about customizing your own Underground Warning Tape. 

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