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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 21
A contractor has provided drawings to me to revise the service to a rehab job in a subdivision. Problem: the drawing proposes that parallell service conductors at 400a/240/120v will be located in underground conduits on the property sqeezed between a garage and the neighbors property line 30". The neighbor has indicated to the village that they intend to install a fence. Whereas utility locating services refer to "tolerances" of 3 feet,, I can not find anything in the code that requires this to stay out of this location other than Subject to physical damage. I think it should probably be required to be incased given the knowledge that the trench will run within 1 foot of the property line for about 35 feet. anyone

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Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,770
Likes: 14
I bet there is a local rule about how close to the line you can bury a lateral. This is "zoning" around here. They look at the plot plan and make sure you are not encroaching. I just had to realign a new gas line for the same reason. It was 10' minimum from the buried pipe to the property line. I really don't have much confidence in our surveys anyway. The engineering firm that laid out my wife's development says +/- a foot is about as good as it gets. I think the development of the GPS might end up moving a lot of property lines. We always took the old surveys as gospel but I think there are lots of errors on the placement of the master benchmark pins if what is happening around here is any indication.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 21
I am trying to find that today, that is, any zoning requirements, however I think I should also mention these entrance conductors located in this trench are load side of the meter.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,770
Likes: 14
That just means the customer will get charged for the current that energized his neighbor's fence. They are still service conductors.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 308

Are you saying that something buried to the proper depth according to code can still be considered subject to physical damage?

I can see it now, inspectors wanting electrical pipes to be buried 10 feet or deeper because one day their neighbor might be illegally digging on their property. What happens when someone wants to install a geothermal heating system and dig down 300 feet in the middle of the yard? What happens when they install the in ground pool and then they have to move the pipe again to keep it away from the pool?

Maybe everything overhead isn't such a bad idea, at least you can see it. A couple extra private poles running around the properties would be a lovely addition to any neighborhood.

I don't see how any zoning law can tell you where to put things under ground on your property as long as it is installed to code.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,289
Maybe everything overhead isn't such a bad idea, at least you can see it.

[Linked Image from]

Just ask Zagami [Linked Image]

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
The zoning laws can be quite burdensome. They can tell you:

what color to paint your house
all utilities must be underground
the depth of the UG utilities
utilities have to be in conduit, with spares
minimum lot size
how large your house can be
how small the house can be
the design of the house (no contemporaries, only contemporaries)
the number of bedrooms
the age of the dwellers (no children)
the height of the building
the type of shingles (wood or slate)
the number or size of windows
distances from the lot lines
if you can build a fence
you have to build a fence
you have to plant a tree or two
you have to plant grass
you can't plant grass
use your imagination for others

What about historical districts, business districts, wetlands, enterprize zones, and the like?

They can't violate federal law as regards race, gender, accessibility for the impaired, sexual preference or income, but they can raise your taxes so high that only members of the elite can afford to live there.

Any of these local regulations are in addition to the NEC, and may be in conflict with the NEC.

Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 308
Would the bulb light if the conductors were below ground?

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
Probably not, as the conductivity of ground would function as a faraday cage, absorbing the flux as circulating current and shielding much of the EM field. If it was strong enough, or the ground were particularly non-conductive, it could still glow.

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Buried high voltage cables are constructed with concentric neutrals so that EMI is done away with.

Such buried lines would not give you Tesla's disconnected light bulb effect.


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