Dangerous panel


Senior Member
Field coordinator/ technical support
Went down to do a safety check on a facility, they had previous issues with a hose bib shocking people outside a maintenance bay. They drove a ground rod (a lot of good that done) and hit it and building steel (which was all they needed) and the voltage went away. The water line ran to a wash bay pump building in galvanized pipe, but changed over to plastic back to the water meter. They had just replaced the panel feeder to that building when they started having the problems. They had two panels in that building, one three phase, the other, a single phase sub off it. The single phase panel had the neutral bar split, neutral on one side, ground on the other. Thing is, they didn’t put the bond screw through on that side, so the panel wasn’t bonded. So I open up the three phase panel. Neutral bar is bonded, grounds and neutrals on the same bar. The thing was, the new panel feed ground was just capped off. Got to looking, they had three hots and a ground pulled, but no neutral. Went back to the disconnect feeding the panel from the main building, no neutral there either. Building was built in the 60’s, so they were using the rigid as the ground. Since they done away with the rigid, and did an underground bore, they no longer had a ground. Someone had added 120 volt loads and the sub panel using the ground as a neutral! Even worse, this was an unmarked delta with the high leg on C phase. The original reason they were getting shocked, was the GEC from the panel was attached to the underground water line!
The water line became a poor neutral until it was bonded to the building steel!