How to Locate Buried Utility Lines in Your Yard

Before digging in your yard, call 811 to have utility companies come out and mark any underground utility lines, and do not dig within 2’ of marked lines. Lines are marked with the following color coded paint:

  • Red: Electric lines
  • Yellow: Gas lines
  • Orange: Cable TV lines
  • Blue: Water lines
  • Green: Sewage lines


  1. People s/b aware that water utility companies will not locate and mark water lines on your property. They will only locate and mark where service enters your meter near curb or street. They claim it’s not their responsibility and do not have capability to locate and will not come on private property. I have had other utilities locate and mark location on my property: electric, telephone, cable TV.

  2. Ok guys. I found the S stamped in the curb. (Sewer clean out ) is what I’m looking for. How far from the S. Would I look for it ? …four feet from the house ? Or four feet from the curb where it’s marked ????

  3. Greg the reason that water utility will NOT locate on your property is that after the water meter box (your service) is yours, the reason gas,phone or electric will locate on your property is that the utility responsible to the meter which runs on private property it is very uncommon for a wmb on private property, let’s say for an example you have a water leak past the meter and your a do it yourself incompetent renter you hook up a garden hose from the box to the house how can a utility company located it, they can’t and wont

  4. i bought my home 2 years ago. built in 1950 on hilly, 2 1/2 acres. how do i find the sewer and water lines.
    is there a detector like a metal detector?
    does the city have a reliable ‘map’?
    how deep are these lines typically?

    • Hi, Wayne!
      The safest option, which we recommend, is to contact 811 to locate these lines in your home’s yard.
      Thanks for your question.

  5. Black Hills Energy and USIC (colorado), will not mark gas lines on homeowner (private)property. You must call and pay a private company for locate service

  6. I’m digging a trench around my carport because the next door neighbor decided to punt his house gutter runoff right at my carport and because I just purchased this home I noticed that my carport concrete slab is breaking because the water is causing the dirt to settle. I find two bare yellow wires going threw the concrete slab and onto his property. Let me state that our houses are close together. What are these wires anyway?

    • Danny says, “It’s hard to say, Bill. It could be a cable TV line or an old ‘invisible fence’ for dogs — but it’s really hard to be able to tell you exactly what it is.
      “Yellow wires can connect to many things, so it may even be hard to determine the source if I was standing there looking at it. It’s just almost impossible.
      Good luck with this!”

  7. The fellow with the neighbor punting his water runoff onto your property the city code man that’s NOT LEGAL code enforecement officer will come out anonomously and!check it out but its not ok to do what he!did

  8. Hello I just bought a new house and it has a really large cable coming out of the electrical box somewhere outside but the wires aren’t hooked up in the box how do I figure out where it goes

    • Hi, Rodney,
      It’s best to never second-guess where electrical cables belong — safety first.
      That goes for homeowners and for Today’s Homeowner, since we can’t see your electrical box.
      Better hire an electrician for this job!
      Take care.

  9. You know your right Bob all the others cooperate really good that water Dept. is very weird , it,s like they don,t want to tell you anything so i said look i have a water leak come hell or high water!! Im punching holes in the ground tomorrow THEY WERE HERE AT 7;00 am

  10. You know your right Bob all the others cooperate really good that water Dept. is very weird , it,s like they don,t want to tell you anything so i said look i have a water leak come or high water!! Im punching holes in the ground tomorrow THEY WERE HERE AT 7;00 am

  11. I called 811 and all the utilities (coded acronyms on website cant tell which is what) stated nothing in the front yard to be marked. With a note at bottom of page private utilities not marked! I know the neighborhood has the water supply going across the front yard to opposite side of house but how am I suppose to know exactly where?

    • Hi, CJ,
      It’s great that you called 811 before attempting to dig in your yard.
      The Common Ground Alliance, which operates 811, knows folks will have more questions before and after the process, and encourages folks to call them:
      If you know the water supply runs across your front yard, it sounds like a phone call to the water utility company also can help.
      Good luck!

  12. I bought new construction earlier this year. There are three pieces of PVC sticking out of the yard, with wires coming out. Like a dummy, I assumed that it was ‘in work’ and that it would disappear later. Well, after 5 months, it’s still there. The builder now says they “can’t touch it.” But told me I can bury them myself (geez, thanks!). I’m not comfortable playing with wires that I don’t know anything about. I called the cable company, they said it is not theirs and they aren’t sure who it belongs to. I called another voice/internet provider, nope, not theirs. This is so frustrating! I have an eyesore that I can’t seem to get rid of or locate the ‘owner’!

  13. Called 811 and they won’t locate natural gas line. Have a pool and meter is in the alley. Need to know where the line goes from the alley to the house. Told me to call plumbers that they have the same equipment. Called 11 plumbers none of which had equipment to locate. Then called Atmos and they gave me three plumbers to call all of which said they did not have the ability to locate. Need to drive 15 foot poles in the ground to back up my retaining wall. Guess I’ll have to take a chance. Area code is 75044

  14. The answer to all of these questions is to hire a private utility locator. If you know there is a utility on your property that was not located by 811 (or public utilities) then most likely you own it and is your responsibility. If you really need to know where it is, you have to hire a private utility locator who is qualified to locate that particular utility.

  15. Linda, please do not touch any wires that you don’t know what they are for. In new sub divisions, it is common practice to stub out electrical services at property lines a long time before the house is built. This wire is supposed to remain inert until connected to the house but sometimes they are accidentally made hot and people get seriously hurt. I appreciate that they are an eyesore but eventually they will be connected, buried and forgotten.

  16. Might be part of sprinkler system. I found red and yellow wires running under my sidewalk, and I found the same type of wires running under the driveway of another house attached to a sprinkler system.


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