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Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 114

Two dogs died in Grant Park (Chicago) when they stepped on a live manhole. One of the dogs bit the owner when she tried to save it. Park district electricians say it would be an unlikely hazard for humans. I would agree that this would be less hazardous to humans, but only in the present tense, as it happened in February! In the summer there are hundreds of people in this park on any given day. Surely some of them rug rats are running around barefoot.

Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
I simply do not understand these pet electrocutions.

Sure, I can see how the covers might become "hot." Yet, Chicago, like most places, has a leash law. And don't let the name "Grant park" fool you; this is a place filled with people and traffic. I just can't imagine someone not giving the leash a tug, and removing fido before serious harm is done.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
The problem is when you're walking a BIG dog. Some of them weigh more than you do and if they get zapped, I guess their body just freezes and then how do you move them?

And if they're getting jolted and you go to grab can get bit (no pun intended). What do you do in that case?

Even if the dog's on a leash, sometimes you can't avoid walking over those vault covers. frown

It's probably safer in cities and sections where the wires are overhead. You don't have to worry about where you step.

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
No, you just have to look overhead anytime the wind picks up.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
Yeah....that can be a problem *red-face*

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
This problem could be solved rather easily.
I note that a lot of new access covers are made of plastics, here.
Other side of the coin, I can't help but think that slack installation practice has caused these deaths to occur.
Animals with 4 legs will always be affected worse than any human regardless of footwear, because of step potentials.
How many times have we read here that some pet has been out for a walk and got electrocuted on one of these covers?.
At least if they were non-conductive (the covers) it would limit the number of fatalities.
Will it take a young child to crawl over one of these covers to be killed before something is "done" about slack Utilities not providing the "highest level of safety" that all thier websites say they do?.
Being a Faults-man for a PoCo, this really hits home, I would not want that on my conscience at all!.

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
Shouldn't a manhole have ground continuity, tripping fuses/breakers/etc. when a short occurs?

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
What's going on that's caused such a spate of these live manhole covers in various U.S. cities recently? frown

I don't recall ever hearing about such an incident here.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
Our infrastructure is crumbling. Deferred maintenance is a big part of the problem, at least here in New York.

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 49
Five years ago in alaska a woman and her dog were killed when the dog stopped at a stream coming from a culvert under the highway to drink and was electrocuted. The woman tried to save her dog and was also electrocuted.

There was a major uproar locally but still the resulting report was never published officially. Since I wasn't involved personally this is simply heresay all I can say was what I was told by a friend who was involved directly.

The culvert under the highway had heattrace to help thaw it in the spring and control roadside runoff.

This was a commercial brand heattrace but was not listed nor approved for wet locations. ( aren't all heattrace applications wet locations?)

It was installed in non-watertite 3/4" conduit along the bottom of the culvert.

It was damaged during the original installation. (outer vinyl jacket ripped and braided stainless ground torn away for 3", inner vinyl jacket abraided in the same 3" with two bare spots showing of the primary conductor through the semi-conductor material.)

When the heattrace faulted and tripped the breaker the contractor removed the conduit ground reference since the last 40' of the run was pvc the only ground reference was via a grounding clamp on the line end of the run with a #10 ground connected external to the conduit.

The #10 ground buried in the same trench as the conduit was connected in the j-box to another #10 by means of an orange wire nut. (which the contractor later claimed one wire pulled out of and was not deliberately disconnected. Even though the wire capped by the orange appeared to have been cut off flush with the outer jacket and then capped.)

Uhhhh...excuse me?...two number tens under an orange?....uhh sure buddy. You might get away with that in front of a jury but any electrician will know that two tens won't fit in an orange wire nut.

It worked fine till about three months later at which point it started tripping the (already oversized) 30amp non-gfci breaker. (beats me where it got a good enough ground reference from to trip)

The circuit was de-energized for approximately three more months with no action taken.

The winter was passing and suddenly the highway people needed the thing to work again. The contractor was called back.

The 30 amp two pole breaker that was tripping was replaced with a 100 amp breaker.

The dog and the woman were electrocuted in the small pool of water at the end of the culvert.

Hmmmm....question is how many people already knew the water was at least potenially hot....or maybe how many cared?....that answer appears to be zero frown

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