BOSTON - Have you ever walked down the streets of Boston and pondered to yourself what those little green discs were that were firmly placed in the road below your feet? Granted, this is a normal thing to wonder, even if you never remembered to Google it. But thanks to some curiosity and sleuthing, Edgar B. Herwick III of WGBH has provided an answer to all of us as to the origin of these green discs. And it makes way more sense than any conjecture I have thought over the years.

Since 2011, the Supervisor of Utility Coordination and Compliance for Boston, Mark Cardarelli, has devised a system that holds companies accountable for when they dig underneath roads. Often times, these digs occur for maintenance of power, gas, and cable lines. But the repairs to the road used to not be done so effectively. In order to increase accountability, Cardarelli began embedding these green discs, complete with serial codes that identify the companies involved with particular ground patches, into the street. This way, the city of Boston would always know who was working where and how much time they had left to complete their project.

According to Herwick's reporting, it's been working well, too. He wrote, "Cardarelli says the program has saved Public Works a lot of headaches and saved the city of Boston plenty of money." It definitely makes sense and it has brought a little bit of, "Huh! What do you know about that?" to the day of Bostonians everywhere. That's the kind of investigative reporting you love to see from WGBH.

When I first saw that Edgar B. Herwick III had dug a little deeper into this everyday little bit of mystery, I certainly did not know what I expected the answer to be. I thought that perhaps the Encore Casino had done a bit of guerilla marketing for years now.

Or perhaps we would find out that the Boston Celtics players over the past decade had been using the green poker chip discs to bet on themselves in basketball games. We are due for another sports cheating scandal, after all. Instead, the mystery was solved by Herwick and his curiosity and now a little trinket of a tidbit has a back story. The more you know!

Image via Flickr/Ross Elliott