Lake Electrical

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  #1  
Old 05-21-19, 04:22 AM
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Lake Electrical

In a dispute with my neighbor and hoping to get some advice. We live on a lake. Currently my neighbor has romex running out into the water (submerged) and to a 10' metal post. On the post he's attached a GFCI outlet. The Romex runs into the water and up the outside of the pole to the outlet. I've voiced concerns to him since my kids swim in the water. He swears that it's safe and to code since it's W rated Romex. I told him I'm pretty sure it needs to be housed in watertight conduit. He says it doesn't because of the type of Romex and the gfci protection. He would not confirm if the breaker was also GFCI or not. Knowing the amount of bonding etc I needed for a code hot tub I can't imagine his setup is right. Anyone in the know have any insight?

Location:Michigan

Also this is the wire he used:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwire-250-ft-12-2-Gray-Solid-CU-UF-B-W-G-Wire-13055955/202316281?MERCH=REC-_-PIPHorizontal2_rr-_-205346692-_-202316281-_-N
 

Last edited by P3mcleod; 05-21-19 at 05:24 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-21-19, 04:59 AM
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The cable needs to be GFCI protected BEFORE entering the water not just a GFCI receptacle at the end.
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Old 05-21-19, 05:17 AM
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Romex is generally slang for NM-b. Is that what he really has or is it UF-b? If Romex it can not be used outside period even in conduit.
 
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Old 05-21-19, 05:21 AM
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Is this part of a dock or mooring, and is it a floating dock or anchored dock? The code is slightly different for docks than for open water. What is the intended use of the receptacle and how far above the high water line is it?

Any non-metallic cable (Romex is a brand) needs to be protected from physical damage. In the case of underground cable that means a burial depth of 24" for plain cable and a sleeve of conduit from the bottom of the trench up to the junction box.
 
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Old 05-21-19, 05:35 AM
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Here's the cable he used
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwire-250-ft-12-2-Gray-Solid-CU-UF-B-W-G-Wire-13055955/202316281?MERCH=REC-_-PIPHorizontal2_rr-_-205346692-_-202316281-_-N

Intended use is to charge his boat batteries and occasionally a vacuum to clean his boat . The wire is run to a standalone dock post about 10' from the dock (parks boat between dock and post. Both the dock and the post are anchored in the ground.

It's only buried maybe 6-8" if I had to guess. Once it enters the water it is exposed almost the entire run to the post. It exits the water maybe a foot from the base of the post and goes up to the outlet probably 3 feet above the waterline. It hangs freely from the outlet and is not attached to the Post in any way, just hangs down into the water.
 
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Old 05-21-19, 05:36 AM
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Underground wiring isn't permitted under bodies of water. Wiring within 5 ft horizontally of the inside wall of a body of water must be installed in rigid metal conduit (RMC), intermediate metal conduit (IMC), or a nonmetallic raceway system (680.10). Use the burial depths shown in Table 680.10.
Source: https://www.ecmweb.com/code-basics/n...s-bodies-water
 
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Old 05-21-19, 05:54 AM
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Hey Ray, that article isn't quite right because they are talking only about pools and spas (article 680), but they use the generic words "bodies of water" for some reason. It's true that unrelated wiring can't go under a pool, but it can go under a natural lake, pond, etc.

The code that covers this situation is article 682, and it sounds like his installation is not compliant for several reasons due to insufficient burial depth, inadequate fastening and protection of the cable, metal post not adequately bonded to grounding. I would have to consult my book later today to remind me if UF is even allowed at all or if conduit and an insulated ground is required here. I personally do not use UF on docks, so I don't have it on the top of my head.

The 3' height above the water line is correct. The GFCI protection is a little gray in this case -- code clearly requires GFCI protection at the receptacle, but not necessarily for the entire circuit. Personally my opinion is that it is downright stupid not to protect the whole circuit, but I'm just trying to give a precise view of the relevant code. I remember there was some dispute about article 682 when it was introduced a few years ago because it focused much more on protection of the people using the dock/boat and not on nearby swimmers where perhaps the stricter pool code in art 680 should have applied.
 
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Old 05-21-19, 06:03 AM
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This is great feedback. My main concern was with the wire just being fully exposed in the water and not anchored anywhere. With kids swimming and the freezing/thawing of the lake /ice drifts , if anything wire snags the wire out of the box it would fall directly into the water and from what I've read, even a low amount of voltage in water is bad news. I guess if the circuit as a whole is GFCI it's less of an issue but not something I'm willing to stake my , or my kids', lives on. Thanks a lot.
 
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Old 05-21-19, 12:27 PM
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This clearly isn't kosher, I wouldn't be afraid to call the inspector out to take a look.
 
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Old 05-21-19, 03:00 PM
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Old 05-23-19, 12:26 PM
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Just to close the loop on this one since we left some of the details hanging...

UF-B is not allowed at all in this situation. NEC 682.31(A) requires an insulated, copper ground wire not smaller than #12. UF-B has a bare ground and therefore is not permitted.

NEC 682.15, Equipment-grade (30mA) GFCI protection is required for the entire circuit; and personnel-grade (5mA) GFCI protection is required for the receptacle. With normal residential equipment the only practical way to meet this requirement is with a personnel (5mA) GFCI breaker at the originating panel. If the panel manufacturer offers an equipment-level GFCI breaker, you could use that and also install a GFCI receptacle on the post, but that would be a more expensive option.

We already covered this in a roundabout way, but the raceway running up the mooring post must be approved for a wet environment and damage as the boat can easily crash into it. This pretty much means IMC or RMC threaded conduit in galvanized steel, stainless or brass; or schedule 80 PVC. If there was more physical protection, say from multiple posts other wet-rated conduits like standard PVC or liquidtight would be OK if run on the protected side of the structure. The conduit would need to be fully assembled and buried at legal depth prior to pulling in wires.

The wires pulled through the conduit need to be a wet rated type, e.g. THWN-2 or XHHW.

The receptacle (or any other device, junction box, splice, etc) must be at least 3 feet above the high water mark and 1 foot above the dock surface if there is a dock.

The receptacle must be installed in a weather rated "bell" box, be a WR (weather resistant) type and have an in-use bubble cover.
 
  #12  
Old 05-23-19, 03:56 PM
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i cant comment on code for wire over water but the gfci outlet will not protect, you need to have gfci on the breaker.

imagine if the gfci outlet became disconnected... now you have live wire running out into water
 
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