The "Ufer" Ground
The term "Ufer" grounding is named after a consultant working for the US Army during World War II. The technique Mr. Ufer came up with was necessary because the site needing grounding had no underground water table and little rainfall. The desert site was a series of bomb storage vaults in the area of Flagstaff, Arizona.
The principle of the Ufer ground is simple, it is very effective and inexpensive to install during new construction. The Ufer ground takes advantage of concrete’s properties to good advantage. Concrete absorbs moisture quickly and looses moisture very slowly. The mineral properties of concrete (lime and others) and their inherent pH means concrete has a supply of ions to conduct current. The soil around concrete becomes "doped" by the concrete, as a result, the pH of the soil rises and reduces what would normally be 1000 ohm meter soil conditions (hard to get a good ground). The moisture present, (concrete gives up moisture very slowly), in combination with the "doped" soil, make a good conductor for electrical energy or lightning currents.
Ufer techniques are used in building footers, concrete floors, radio and television towers, tower guy wire anchors, light poles, etc. Copper wire does not function well as a "Ufer" ground due to the pH factor of concrete (+7pH is common). The use of steel reinforcement as a "Ufer" ground works well and concrete does not chip or flake as has been found with copper. The use of copper wire tied to the reinforcement rods outside the concrete shows none of these problems.