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Thread: electrical conduit and plumbing in same trench

  1. #1
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    Question electrical conduit and plumbing in same trench

    I am running a feed down to a dock for a boat hoist and the owner started installing plumbing for a fresh water supply in my trench. I halted all operations and requested time to check the code. Could not find anything in the code regarding running electrical and plumbing in the same trench. Can someone help me locate?

  2. #2
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    Sometimes the plumbing codes or the electric utility (for service conductors) might have an issue with it. But it is not an NEC issue.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2008 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  3. #3
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    Well pump installers do it all the time. They even use individual conductors in the ditch some times. I have had to sleeve them when they come up under the house. Where the water storage tank and pressure switch is.

  4. #4
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    As long as there is reasonable clearance around the electrical ( if the trench is big enough ) then it should not be a problem. If you dug the trench and other trades are trying to hijack your trench then I say let them wait till your done with your portion of the job.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by acrwc10
    As long as there is reasonable clearance around the electrical ( if the trench is big enough ) then it should not be a problem. If you dug the trench and other trades are trying to hijack your trench then I say let them wait till your done with your portion of the job.

    What is reasonable clearance? And why can't the two be right next to, or right on top of each other?
    Rob

    Chief Moderator

    All responses based on the 2011 NEC unless otherwise noted

  6. #6
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    Some utilities here don't allow (meaning: local codes) the water and electric services to be in the same trench. A minimum of 36" is required. This is on the services coming in only. Once you get into the house, they don't care.

    Quote Originally Posted by infinity
    What is reasonable clearance? And why can't the two be right next to, or right on top of each other?

    I think the reasoning would be that if you had to dig one of them up to fix it, you could damage the other one if you didn't know it was there. Or you could damage the other in the process of repairing the one. True, a One-Call locate would identify both in the same trench, but not everyone makes the call.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by infinity
    What is reasonable clearance? And why can't the two be right next to, or right on top of each other?
    Reasonable clearance IMO is what ever it takes to not hit two separate services with one swing of a pick. Imagine hitting a plastic gas line and an electric line in one hit, you might not survive the outcome. :cool: We have hit gas lines that were miss marked by the utility co. even if it becomes the utility's fault that doesn't take away an injury. :cool:

  8. #8
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    I would be ok with it if i have mine in pvc but with uf there is risk off getting cut by a repair to water line.NEC cares not.

    Had problem once over this cause owner at last minute needed a 120 at pump for water softner.I could not risk hiyying my own wire or his water line. I never want to run uf again
    Last edited by Jim W in Tampa; 03-23-08 at 11:27 AM.

  9. #9
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    You mentioned a feed? Is this a sub panel? And is the plumbing after the water disconnect? If so then it seems that you don't have any POCO or water company issues. Might be some local codes to abide by though.

  10. #10
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    Using the information provided by the OP I would say that you can run both the water and electric in the same trench. As others have mentioned you may want to consider separation if digging in the future is a possibility. But since the owner wants only one trench than any future problems would become his problem.
    Rob

    Chief Moderator

    All responses based on the 2011 NEC unless otherwise noted

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