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Old 02-05-2009, 02:10 PM   #1
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Water Main Standards and Considerations


Residential water main.
Replaced exisiting 5/8" lead with 1 1/4" K copper.

1. New pipe was routed through foundation wall into basement. It entered wall at an angle that was not 90 degrees to wall when viewed from above. The pipe comes in a coil about 5' in diameter.

Is this normal and/or to be expected sometimes?

2. The existing electrical ground is attached to the old water main in a hole in the basement floor where the old service line was exposed (the main sewer trap is also in this hole, which is covered with steel plate.)

When having the water main replaced, should the electrical ground be rerouted from the old disconnected lead pipe to someplace on the pipe that is now connected to the sewer? (This would cause the connection to be placed on the water main near the basement ceiling downstream of the meter.)

3. When backfilling this pipe, is it OK to allow rocks to rest directly against the pipe? Or to force the pipe into place by jamming some rocks like shims against the pipe?

(At one point, in order to somewhat straighten the pipe coming through the foundation wall, the contractor wanted to jam some rocks between the edge of the foundation wall hole and the pipe. Thus forcing it to be more straight and held in place with some pressure from the rocks. I thought this might not be a sound idea.)


Last edited by TomBrooklyn; 02-05-2009 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:16 PM   #2
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Water Main Standards and Considerations


If the installer is not careful, the water pipe entering the house might not be straight. It'll still work just fine.

The ground wire from the panel to the ground electrode (ground rod or water pipe) has to be a continuous unspliced length. Leave it connected to the old pipe provided the old pipe was not freshly cut off outside the foundation at the time the new pipe was installed. Otherwise if the ground wire from the panel doesn't reach the new pipe you will have to replace the wire completely. In systems with multiple ground electrodes, daisy chaining is OK instead of running wires all the way from each electrode to the panel.

Add a short ground wire bridging the meter (from a straight length of pipe on one side of the meter to a straight length of pipe on the other side of the meter).

IMHO do not jam rocks against the pipe outside. It should be cushioned using sand or not too coarse gravel.

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Old 02-05-2009, 05:24 PM   #3
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Water Main Standards and Considerations


Hi Allen,

Thanks for your comments.

Regarding the electric service ground, the old lead pipe was cut off near the city water main in the street which is across the street, so it travels about a good 30' in the ground.

From where the ground wire is attached, a 1" brass pipe exists the hole under the basement slab and rises out of the slab vertically a few feet away where it became a riser up to the meter. It was cut off at that point and the new pipe was attached there, turning up into the riser and the meter. The stub up was cut off so close I may use it as a riser support by just bending it over a teeny bit. (The riser is now unsupported from the bottom. It is still supported by a hanger at it's top by the ceiling. The new pipe came through the foundation about 4' away and is connected to the existing riser by a horizontal run.)

I could strap a jumper from that stub to the new pipe, which would have the effect of a double ground I guess. I don't know if that's more than necessary.

I just thought of another thing. Is electric service ever grounded to water pipes anywhere besides from the main incoming service box to a water pipe? If so, that gound would now be separate from the main one unless a jumper was made, in case that has an effect on anything.

Last edited by TomBrooklyn; 02-06-2009 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:04 AM   #4
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Water Main Standards and Considerations


The 30 feet of decommissioned water pipe still under your yard and still connected to the stub coming up through your floor is still an adequate electrical ground.

If you have to modify a ground wire setup, you have to restore it to current code which means at least one ground via a continuous #6 or fatter wire from the electrical box where the switch or breaker is to disconnect the entire house is, over to either a ground rod or to a metal water pipe near where it exits the house without the meter in between.

Casual grounding of equipment such as washing machines and stereo equipment is sometimes done to water pipes but often there is length of plastic pipe in between that makes it not a real ground.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-06-2009 at 08:16 AM.
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