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Old 08-19-2011, 10:47 PM   #1
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Working in water with a Submersible Water Pump


Friends, If a pump is New and High quality from Italy, is there any reason to be afraid of working around a running submersible pump, that is earth grounded?..., and of course, the cord plug in is dry and far away...

(I think of all things of a submarine, imagine the Amps, the electronics, the external radio antennas, the computers, and that it is underwater in salt water; and so if a submersible pump from Italy was sealed and proper at all, in a new pump, its hard for me to believe that a person would be getting shocked from a short circuit from the new pump itself?)

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Old 08-19-2011, 11:13 PM   #2
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Working in water with a Submersible Water Pump


Submersible pumps are widely used in drilled wells all over North America. In addition, it is common to use a sub pump in a lake or stream to draw water. As long as the pump is installed correctly by a qualified person you should have no concerns. If you tend towards overkill, you could have the electrician install a GFCI, but it is generally not required in most areas, and can be expensive if your pump is 240v.

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Old 08-20-2011, 12:03 AM   #3
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Working in water with a Submersible Water Pump


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Originally Posted by CuHead View Post
If you tend towards overkill, you could have the electrician install a GFCI, but it is generally not required in most areas, and can be expensive if your pump is 240v.
GFCI is definitely required in almost all installations. I would be very uncomfortable working around a submersible pump without a properly functioning and recently tested GFCI.

Submersible pumps are not allowed in swimming pools or occupied fountains, and it is inadvisable to use them in swimming areas of lakes or rivers. I would be very uncomfortable being in the water with one. They are not designed with that degree of safety in mind.

I bought a brand new submersible pump (Goulds, a very well regarded brand) which had the hot and ground connections reversed internally. It tripped the GFCI immediately, thankfully alerting me to the situation. Without a GFCI the results could have been fatal if I had reached into the water to figure out why it wasn't running.

I have had two other submersible pumps fail by developing ground faults. One was a 20-year old 1/2HP fountain pump which began tripping the GFCI. The other was a fairly new (5-year old) utility pump that developed a leak and started tripping the GFCI. Without a GFCI, both of these could have created very dangerous situations.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:42 AM   #4
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Working in water with a Submersible Water Pump


mpoulton, please answer me this, with my feet in the water with the pump, and a GFCI, and the pump at 4.3 amps, how does that work in an instant cut-off, am I shock and dead in that instant, or how does GFCI work, and whats the truth of it, and Thank you.
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Old 08-20-2011, 02:55 AM   #5
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Working in water with a Submersible Water Pump


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Originally Posted by Noble Metal View Post
mpoulton, please answer me this, with my feet in the water with the pump, and a GFCI, and the pump at 4.3 amps, how does that work in an instant cut-off, am I shock and dead in that instant, or how does GFCI work, and whats the truth of it, and Thank you.
The rated current of the pump is not really relevant in the case of a ground fault. The current flow into the water from a ground fault will depend on the resistance of the water, and may be much more or much less than the operating current of the pump. A standard GFCI trips at 5mA (0.005 amps). If the pump develops a ground fault, it will certainly exceed 5mA immediately. The GFCI will disconnect power within a fraction of a second. If you were in the water very near the pump or touching the pump when it developed a ground fault, you would probably feel a shock before the GFCI tripped - but it would be almost instantaneous and you would be very unlikely to suffer any injury. GFCI's are designed to disconnect power fast enough to prevent injury.
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:00 AM   #6
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Working in water with a Submersible Water Pump


You might want to read this article about the Corps of Engineers, Lake Hartwell (SC) project:

Corps of Engineers bans submersible pumps at Hartwell Lake The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District recently banned the use of submersible pumps on Hartwell Lake for withdrawing water for individual domestic use.
Officials instituted the ban to increase safety for users of the reservoir following the near-electrocution of a swimmer in 2010. An investigation determined a submersible pump delivered the shock to the swimmer.
"Submersible pumps are not designed for use in open water or where swimmers may be present," said Col. Jeffrey Hall, Savannah District commander, who authorized the change to the Hartwell Lake Shoreline Management Plan. "We updated our policy to increase the safety of visitors to Hartwell Lake."
Individuals with withdrawal permits may continue to use water from the reservoir but may not use submerged pumps. Pumps must be ashore on private property or, if on a permitted dock, must remain above water. Only non-conductive (non-metal) hoses or pipes may enter the water from the pump.
Individuals with pump permits will receive a letter from the Corps of Engineers outlining the policy change and giving them until May 8 to remove any submersible pump. The Corps of Engineers will waive all permit modification fees associated with this policy change but permit holders must bear the cost of removing or replacing submersible pumps. Hartwell Lake staff will coordinate and document the removal of the pumps.
This policy change brings Hartwell Lake in line with other Corps reservoirs including Thurmond Lake. Private shoreline use permits are not allowed at the Savannah Districtís Russell Lake.
Hartwell Dam and Lake is on the upper Savannah River at the confluence of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers and is near Anderson, S.C., and Hartwell, Ga.


http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/lakes/hartwell/

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