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#24759 - 04/22/03 10:26 PM Water in Meter Base  
sparky66wv  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia
Sorry, missed the opportunity for pics, it wasn't very photogenic anyway.


Got a call from the General Contractor about a house I wired about 1-1/2 years ago... The meter base has water running out of it, and there are obvious concerns.

By the time I got there, Allegheny Power was there, the G.C. and the health inspector. To make a long story short, after opening the Transformer (elevated about 8' above the meterbase, a few hundred feet away) the secondary conduit was not visible, and could not be felt with in a foot down with a long screwdriver. Plus, the URD cable went in the direction of the drainage ditch, where we can only assume that the 3" conduit started somewhere... (in the original installation, the GC had trenched, laid the conduit and pullrope up to the sched 80 sweep and riser at the meterbase, where I took over)... To make a long story even longer, the septic system keeps overflowing (3200 gallons in two weeks!) and the owners are miffed to say the least.

We can only assume that the drainage ditch is pouring its runoff down the 3" pipe to the meterbase, and is then sending water down into the drainage system and into the septic system. It appears, at this point, to be the PoCos problem since it was the final few feet of pipe going into the transformer that was omitted, and surely, they didn't expect, or even want, us to pipe into one of their live transformers...

Anyway, have any of you run into a similar problem, and how was it remedied?


[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 04-22-2003).]

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#24760 - 04/22/03 10:54 PM Re: Water in Meter Base  
fla sparkey  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 47
Winter Haven, Florida USA
I ran into a similar problem with a drug store a few years back. Their stock room was getting flooded everytime it rained. The water appeared to be comming from under the MDP.

I arrived there after an unusually heavy thunderstorm to find the stock room flooded and water running into the store. I pulled the covers off the MDP and found that the 4" pvc pipe comming up from the slab had water overflowing from it. The pad mount xformer was located behind the store up on a slight hill. When the area around the store was landscaped the company sodded the area around the transformer. This created a valley leading to the base of the xformer. This funneled runoff water under it. The pvc pipes leading into the MDP were not sealed.

To fix the problem I used a shop vac to get as much water out of the pipes as I could and sealed them with spray foam. That worked. I also called the poco to see if I could get a serviceman out there to open up the xformer so the pipes could be sealed at that end as well. Since the recent storm had knocked out power in other areas of the city none was available. I explained the situation to the dispatcher and left the store manager with a couple cans of foam to use when the service tech did show up. I also explained the landscaping situation to the store manager and recommended that something be done to divert runoff water away from the xformer in the future. Happy to say, I never went back after that.

#24761 - 04/23/03 12:31 AM Re: Water in Meter Base  
nesparky  Offline
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 642
In this area - for commercial work the EC supplies the tranformer pad, all conduit to the property line and secondary wires.
For residential we install the meter base only. POCO does the rest of service to the building.
If we see where water may be a problem we seal the conduits.
Only time I have had any problem like this was during a flood.


#24762 - 04/23/03 03:28 PM Re: Water in Meter Base  
sparky806  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 59
Shawnee, KS, USA
I had a similar problem last friday night. 16 inch water main broken, 4 hours until it was shut off. about 500,00 gallons of muddy, sandy water through 600 amp service. Customer refused to let me shut them down (car dealership, have to sell those cars!!). I called the fire dept, who called city inspector. Immed. red tagged. Going back tonight to clean out the service and repair.

#24763 - 04/23/03 06:33 PM Re: Water in Meter Base  
Bjarney  Offline
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
An old timer once demonstrated good duct-seal installation as sort of an "art"—that took a little time but paid off. Start with a good product like “RectorSeal” duct-seal compound; a slang term is monkey dung. Roll it into hotdog-/dogpoo-sized wads and pack it in to the raceway end with the hotdogs most of the way into the conduit and lateral/parallel to installed cables. Force the cables with sideways pressure into the duct seal to compress it between cables and conduit walls. It might take six or twelve wiener-shaped pieces. The raceway-wall/ductseal/cable-jacket contact area is greatly increased, and more likely to withstand flooding than a half-inch layer pressed on the conduit end. In one case, it saved a control-room-basement lake and an 800-amp transfer switch owned by a very particular customer.

Another brickhouse-grade alternative are seals like CSBG-series on page 18 at —but they take some advance planning. One “gotcha” can be not solder-blocking stranded bare equipment-grounding conductors that pass through the seal.

[This message has been edited by Bjarney (edited 04-23-2003).]

#24764 - 04/23/03 09:42 PM Re: Water in Meter Base  
master66  Offline
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 257
Masontown, PA, USA

One of Allegheny Power's requirements states that when the meter base is lower than the transformer pad or street level, etc. you are to drill weep holes in the sch80 riser and place gravel under the riser to allow for drainage.

I have also seen this happen a long time ago. I guess that it has been a problem for APco so they made a new rule. If you have an APco rules book (2002) you should be able to find it in there. (Page 37 of the 2000 rules book.)

This is also required in either direction. such as if the meter base was higher than the transformer.

#24765 - 04/23/03 10:24 PM Re: Water in Meter Base  
harold endean  Offline
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
Boonton, NJ
I had 2 different problems kinda like these several years back. The first one was when a siding company yanked the brand new 200 amp meter socket off the wall and left it hanging. After a year or so, the water got into all the electrical wiring and ruined the new service panel in the basement. It had to all be replaced. The 2nd problem came in from a school.The electrical service was underground and whent he POCO installed their pipe on the service riser, they never capped it off. The water was raining down and in the underground service pipe and flowing through the CT cabinet. When I went out on a service call to find out why the lights were blinking, I found the whole CT cabinet was rotten. The CT's themselves were just about being supported by the mounting hardware. One good push and the whole thing would fall apart. The whole cabinet had to be replaced. (Plus the fact that it had to be done when school was closed and off hours. It cost them extra.) In both cases all the damage could have been saved all because someone didn't protect the electrical equipment from water damage.

#24766 - 04/23/03 10:24 PM Re: Water in Meter Base  
sparky66wv  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia

I see the part about weep holes, but not about the "french drain" or whatever one calls it (gravel pit).

Says: 2" tamped clean base and 6" clean backfill around conduit. Weep holes "when required".

Red book 2002... pg 37. Page 15 doesn't offer any other info either...

Where do you see it?

[Linked Image]

This quote I like is on page 15 6.03 2nd paragraph:

"The Company shall own and maintain all service lateral facilities, including the service lateral facilities installed by the Customer". (emphasis mine)

It passed and now they own it, warts and all...

I guess.

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 04-23-2003).]

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#24767 - 04/26/03 09:31 PM Re: Water in Meter Base  
master66  Offline
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 257
Masontown, PA, USA

I really don't think it says anything about gravel in the book and I'm not saying that I would enforce gravel but water dosen't drain very fast through tamped dirt. It is just the way I always did it. It gave the water somewhere to go.

As far as APco "owning and maintaining" the service lateral, good luck! It will probably depend on who you deal with and your repor with them.

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