Pool Bonding Safety Grid

Pool Safety – Equipotential Bonding

What to Know About Equipotential Swimming Pool Bonding

Being cognizant of hazards throughout the property is an integral part of the daily job as inspectors and consultants. With this in mind safety, more specifically, public safety is one of the most important areas of any property. Including safety measures and components which are never seen but present for your safety nevertheless. Equipotential bonding for us, is not only an extremely important component to the safeness of every swimmer, within every swimming pool, it’s also relatively costly improvement for those pools, hot tubs and spas without it.

The Jodie Lane Foundation

 

Jodie Lane, originally from Texas but moved to New York in 1994 to attend Sarah Lawrence College. After ten years she found herself living there permanently with her longtime boyfriend and their two dog in the East Village. She was one of eight out of over two hundred who applied Columbia university and were accepted. There she pursued her masters and Ph.D. in their clinical Psychology program.

Jodie Lane

On January 16, 2004 Jodi Lane took her dogs for a walk in the East Village of New York. While walking her dogs she noticed they were acting erratic for no apparent reason at the corner of 11th and 1st streets. When Jodie approached the dogs to investigate it was there she received a fatal dose of electrical current which originated from a metal junction box which had shorted within the sidewalk, the property of ConEdison the utility provider.

Avoidable or Unavoidable Conditions?

It was a ConEd spokes person who at the time commented on the fact that in the winter there, salt is added to the streets which creates slushy conditions. Furthermore, its these slushy conditions which led to this slush seeping into the streets and thus causes deterioration of the metal junction boxes.  As you can imagine, this news shocked all who lived in New York which led many to wonder whether or not the incident could have been avoided with more stringent safety measures.Jodie Lane Street in memory

Utility Will Pay $7.2Million in Electrocution

Nearly a year after a woman was electrocuted while walking her dogs on a wet East Village street, Consolidated Edison has agreed to pay her family more than $6.2 million and to set up a $1 million scholarship fund in her name at Columbia University, where she was a doctoral student. Read more here

Memorial in her name

Alex Wilbourne, Jodie’s fiancé wanted to create a memorial in her name and proceeded to gather over 3,000 signatures in a move to re-name the street in her memory, honoring Jodie’s passing. On May of 2005 his dream was made a reality when the new street sign was finally erected.

Jodie Lane Fund

Clinical Psychology Department. This fund was established by Consolidated Edison, Inc., in the name of PhD student Jodie Lane, a clinical psychology student who died in a tragic accident in 2004. Donate here.

The Jodi S. Lane Foundation was conceived out of the settlement reached with ConEd and the Lane family. This Foundation is a “non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization with “a mission to improve pedestrian safety and prevent people and pets from being electrocuted, shocked or injured due to stray voltages.” The Foundation makes public the database of stray voltages throughout New York which are detected.

Changes in action

The Order Adopting Changes to Electrical Standards said the following Relative to Mobile scanning: “Therefore, we order the utilities to conduct mobile stray voltage detection surveys of their underground electric distribution systems, in appropriate areas of cities with a population of at least 50,000 (based on the results of the 2000 census), during calendar year 2009 to positively identify those areas Jodie lane foundation workthat can be effectively surveyed. The testing shall continue annually thereafter until further direction from the Commission. This testing will meet the annual requirement under the standards for those areas. Based on the effectiveness and results of these surveys, we will further consider whether we should make additional modifications to the standards.”

STRAY and contact VOLTAGE

According to the IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers , they provide a definition of both contact and stray voltage.

Stray Voltage: 

“A voltage resulting from the normal delivery and/or use of electricity (usually smaller than 10 volts) that may be present between two conductive surfaces that can be simultaneously contacted by members of the general public and/or their animals. Stray voltage is caused by primary and/or secondary return current, and power system induced currents, as these currents flow through the impedance of the intended return pathway, its parallel conductive pathways, and conductive loops in close proximity to the power system.

Stray voltage is not related to power system faults, and is generally not considered hazardous. (See also Contact Voltage) Note: “Conductive surfaces” as used in this definition are intended to include the earth and/or extensions of the earth such as concrete sidewalks and metal floor drains.”

Contact Voltage:

“A voltage resulting from abnormal power system conditions that may be present between two conductive surfaces that can be simultaneously contacted by members of the general public and/or their animals. Contact voltage is caused by power system fault current as it flows through the impedance of available fault current pathways. Contact voltage is not related to normal system operation and can exist at levels that may be hazardous. Note: “Conductive surfaces” as used in this definition are intended to include the earth and/or extensions of the earth such as concrete sidewalks and metal floor drains.”

Equipotential Bonding fly’s “under the radar of everyone”

Equipotential swimming pool bonding is one of the most difficult concepts of swimming pool safety to understand for many electricians, inspectors, pool builders, realtors, home buyers and most everyone just learning about bonding for the first time. You might be wondering how come I lumped Realtors in this group. Well, I included realtors in this group of individuals because in many cases they are on the front lines of this specific issue having being on the selling end or buying end of transactions where these issues are usually discovered during the home inspection.

It also my own personal opinion that many of the real estate agents do not grasp this concept or importance of Bonding and as a result, can unknowingly place their clients in direct harms way bu assuming it’s “not big deal… old code, or too difficult to repair.” For home buyers, it’s my suggestion that you let a pool builder or expert who inspected the pool guide you in the decision-making process, with information rooted in fact.

old building code vs new building codes

How Old Is The Equipotential Swimming Pool Bonding Code?

Swimming pool bonding appears to have been established for quite some time now. Just sifting through some old code books I have on my shelf, I came across this in a copy of the 1962 NEC. Below is the information from that book and code section. “Note: My 1968 NEC book appears to mention the need for a #8 AWG bonding conductor for the first time. Although the terminology is different, (grounding vs. bonding) the idea is the same.  680-7. Grounding

  • (a) All metallic conduit, piping systems, pool reinforcing steel, light fixtures, and the like, shall be bonded together and grounded to a common ground. The metal parts of ladders, diving boards, and their support, shall be grounded. 
  • (b) No pool equipment shall be grounded to an external grounding electrode that is not common to the pool ground (deck box or transformer enclosure).
  • (c) An unbroken No. 14 AWG, or larger, insulated copper wire shall be provided for a grounding conductor from the deck box to the distribution panel ground.
  • (d) Metallic raceways shall not be depended upon for grounding. Where exposed to pool water and in other corrosive areas such as in pump houses or adjacent to water treating and other equipment, the grounding of the non-current carrying parts shall be by means of an insulated copper conductor sized in accordance with Section 250-95.

grandfathered building codes

The Term “Grandfathered” Should Never Ever Come Up

I hear this term “grandfathered” often during my inspections and it makes me cringe. The simple definition of “Grandfathered” used when describing any condition, component or system which was installed or constructed prior to the most current code cycle. We use this term mostly when faced with a difficult decision like for example, discovering that a pool was never bonded.

This often times begs the question, “can the issues present, be considered acceptable simply because they may have been installed at an earlier time and in accordance with a less stringent building standard.” Simple answer is in my opinion is sometimes yes and sometimes no.  Let’s compare as an illustration, two different and fairly recent plumbing codes.

The purpose of equipotential bonding is to bring metallic objects to the same potential, thus reducing the shock hazard. This is obviously an important consideration for people immersed in a container of water.Mike Holt
Old Code New Code

First is the 1985 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) which lists fixtures but nowhere will you find anything about water conservation fixtures. Contrast this to the 2010 California Plumbing Code (CPC) which does list conservation fixtures. As a matter of fact, the newest building code is even more stringent with respect to water conservations futures. So, does an old code which allows massive amounts of water to be wasted pose any sort of immediate hazard to you, your family of the general public? Probably not. It’s difficult to compare an old code like this to the hazards of a swimming pool with no effective bond or GFCI for the light fixture simply because of its original date of installation.

For us as professionals, the true test of whether or not any “grandfathered” issue poses a real and present danger, (despite the fact that at one time it was found to be acceptable), is common sense. As mentioned in the above example of the GFCI pool light.  Assuming the example pool was permitted, would it make the least bit of common sense to allow anyone to swim in a pool which possess the ability to electrocute someone?  Yet, even if a city inspector approved its original installation, the severity of the issue still remains.

“It hasn’t killed anyone yet”

Something else I often hear is…“it’s been like that for over 50 years and nobody has been killed yet.”  To think this… let alone say something like this is extremely reckless with absolutely no regard for anyones safety.  Most times it’s a realtor or seller of a home who use this term to make a point that because nobody has died or have been injured to date, (that they know of) somehow this makes the situation safer? Please. We were involved with a project where a man was sued 20 years after he built a pool with no bond, and someone was shocked and subsequently drowned as a result of the missing bond.

Laws change because people are in need of protection, get injured or worse, die. Likewise, building codes also change because the code officials invent “a better wheel, or improve the wheel they already have“, for protection of people and property. The individuals who draft building codes, don’t have an agenda to make anyones life more difficult. On the contrary, the individuals who draft code are brilliant, forward thinkers with one goal… protection of the people.

As inspectors and contractors we understand that most all issues discovered during a home inspection do not have to be brought to any newer standard. That said, however, when we as consultants make mention of missing components or systems or otherwise unsafe conditions, it’s always out of prudence and protection of the public, a home buyer and  /or their family.

Heres what the building code says about Existing structures…

2012 International Existing Building Code

EXISTING BUILDING. “A building erected prior to the date of adoption of the appropriate code, or one for which a legal building permit has been issued.”

R102.7 Existing structures. “The legal occupancy of any structure existing on the date of adoption of this code shall be permitted to continue without change, except as is specifically covered in this code, the international Property Maintenance Code, the international Fire code, or as is deemed necessary by the building official for the general safety and welfare of the occupants and the public.”

2014 National Electric Code

80.2 Definitions. Authority Having Jurisdiction.The organization, office, or individual responsible for approving equipment materials, an installation, or a procedure.”

80.9 Application. (B) Existing Installations. “Existing electrical installations that do not comply with the provisions of this Code shall be permitted to be continued in use unless the authority having jurisdiction determines that the lack of conformity with this Code presents an imminent danger to occupants. Where changes are required for correction of hazards, a reasonable amount of time shall be given for compliance, depending on the degree of the hazard.”

80.11 Occupancy of Building or Structure. (B) Existing Buildings. “Existing buildings that are occupied at the time of adoption of this Code shall be permitted to remain in use provided the following conditions apply:”

  1. The occupancy classification remains unchanged
  2. There exists no condition deemed hazardous to life or property that would constitute an imminent danger

80.13 Authority. (6) “Where the authority having jurisdiction deems that conditions hazardous to life and property exist, he or she shall be permitted to require that such hazardous conditions in violation of this Code be corrected.”

New Construction or Remodeling

New construction, addition or remodeling will require such work to conform to the requirements of the newest code. A change of occupancy of the building will force the building to conform to the new standards. The existence of a building prior to the adoption of an old or new edition of the building code does not grant it the status of a legal existence.

Under prior rules, a home need not be brought up to current requirements when there are records to show that it was constructed to meet the regulations of the jurisdiction in force at the time it was built. The most common way to demonstrate legal compliance with the construction codes of a community is through the public records.

Copies of past building permits can be researched at the jurisdictional archives. Upon discovery that a building does not have a legal existence, corrective actions will be needed in order to bring the structure into compliance with the regulations of the jurisdiction at the time the building was built.

grounding vs bonding

The Difference Between Grounded(ing) And Bonding

Even before we get into the Equipotential swimming pool bonding discussion, it’s important to understand the difference between grounded and bonding. Here are a few terms we’ll want to get familiar with according to the NEC and Mike Holt;

BOND(ED)(ING)

The 2014 National Electric Code Definitions

Bonded (Bonding) “Connected to establish electrical continuity and conductivity.”

(NEC) 680.26 Equipotential Bonding (A) Performance. “The equipotential bonding required by this section shall be installed to reduce voltage gradients in the pool area.”

(NEC) Equipotential Plane. “An area where wire mesh or other conductive elements are embedded in or placed under concrete, bonded to all illegal structures and fixed nonelectrical equipment that may become energized, and connected to the electrical grounding system to minimize voltage potentials within the plane and between the planes, the grounded equipment. and the earth.”

And According to Mike Holt…

Bond, bonded or bonding means the permanent joining of metallic parts to form an electrically conductive path that provides the capacity to conduct safely any fault current likely to be imposed. Proper bonding creates an effective, low impedance, ground-fault current path for the purpose of removing dangerous voltage from a ground fault by quickly opening the circuit’s over-current protection device.”

Mike Holt: “The purpose of equipotential bonding is to bring metallic objects to the same potential, thus reducing the shock hazard. This is obviously an important consideration for people immersed in a container of water.”

Here you can visit Mikes documentation on article 680 of the NEC

Equipotential Bonding

Although the term Bonding has taken on many different meanings over the years and depending on who you speak with, the fact remains, Bonding is not grounding. Think of bonding as a net. Equipotential bonding’s primary intent is to join things together so they are all touching. For example, these things can be pipes, wire or even other equipments. Essentially, the act of bonding is simple… its the connection of metallic parts such as steel which are not intended to carry electricity or current while in use which brings these parts to the same voltage “potential”.  What’s potential or voltage potential you ask?

Potential and Voltage Potential

According to a random Google search of potential.. “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.”

Voltage Potential According to Wikki.. Technically, the voltage is the difference in electric potential between two points and is always measured between two points. e.g. between the positive and negative ends of a battery, between a wire and the ground, or between a wire or a point of a circuit and a point in another part of the circuit. In everyday use with household electricity in the U.S. the voltage is most often 120V. This voltage is measure from the electric wire to the ground. Note that there must be both voltage and current to transfer power (energy). For example, a wire can have a high voltage on it, but unless it is connected, nothing will happen. Birds can land on high voltage lines such as 12kV and 16kV without dying, because the current does not flow through the bird.

In short, when we bond two things together we’re bringing them to the same electrical potential. Another way to describe it would be the bonded components (with the same potential) inability to contribute to current flow or, you wouldn’t be able to have electricity on one component alone. For example, in a pool if all things are bonded together correctly you wouldn’t have the handrail energized and the pool water not.

Equipotential Bonding is not intended to remove dangerous voltages

Another way to describe equipotential bonding is that bonding is not intended to remove dangerous voltages like an effective ground fault current path does. Again, its primary purpose is to protect by reducing any flow of current between two objects or equipment, which may be at different voltage potentials.  Typically, getting shocked by electricity happens when we, as human conductors come between two conductive parts.

Pool bonding is not required to terminate into the service equipment panel

One important detail to remember is that the pool bonding is not required to terminate into the service equipment panel or electrodes. NEC 680.26(B)  “An 8 AWG or larger solid copper bonding conductor provided to reduce voltage gradients in the pool area shall not be required to be extended or attached to remote panel boards, service equipment, or electrodes.”

If the NEC 680.24 building code if followed properly, the bonding grid system will has the ability to reduce the hazards associated with electric shock. An example of this would only take place when the pool bonding of all things metallic are performed properly. The reason for the code, is once the bonding grid is properly established i.e. proper conductor sizing and any other necessary bonding elements are installed in accordance with the code, there should not be any current flow in-between the parts as described in the NEC.

GROUND(ING)(ED)

On the other hand, we can see by these various definitions how the ground serves an entirely different purpose. We can go into the differences between grounds, but I feel there is so much information on the net regarding this topic, we’d just be white noise and besides, I’d like to stay on point with pool bonding. Nevertheless, below are some simple definitions that may help you better understand ground(ed)(ing).

2014 National Electric Code Definitions

Grounded (Grounding)“Connected (connecting) to ground or to a conductive body that extends the ground connection.”  In other words, the connection of metal parts to earth for the purpose of directing lightning and other high voltage surges into the ground.

According to Mike Holt…

View his documentation on Grounding and bonding here

Mike Holt is the foremost expert in all things electrical and NEC related. Mr. Holt has devoted his entire career studying, researching and understanding the NEC (National Electric Code). He is one of the top experts in the country. Many companies and various organizations retain his expertise to dissect and understand the NEC. He defines grounding like this;

Grounding of metal parts

“Grounding of metal parts of electrical equipment is the intentional connection of the equipment to earth. Failure to properly ground the metal parts to the earth could result in high voltage being applied to metal parts if lightning enters the building or structure via metal raceways or cables. Lightning does not necessarily strike only grounded items when seeking a path to the earth.

If the metal parts are not effectively grounded, much of the high energy from the lightning strike will be dissipated in the structure, which can result in electric shock or fires inside the premises. In addition, metal parts are grounded to the earth to help prevent the build-up of high-voltage static charges where the discharge (arcing) could cause failure of electronic equipment that either is being assembled on a production line or is in actual use.

Grounding can also prevent an explosion and fire in a hazardous-classified area. Furthermore, sensitive electronics are sometimes grounded to an isolated electrode, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, to reduce Radio Frequency (RF) interference.”

System Grounding

“System grounding is the intentional connection of one terminal of the power supply to the earth for the purpose of stabilizing the system line-to-ground voltage during normal operations. According to IEEE Std. 142 (Green Book) “arcing, re-striking, or vibrating ground faults on ungrounded systems can, under certain conditions, produce surge voltages as high as six times normal.”

Effectively Grounded

“Effectively grounded means intentionally connected to the earth via a low impedance path.”

“CAUTION: The term “ground” or “grounded” is sometimes improperly used in the NEC as well as in the trade. For example 404.9(B) specifies that snap switches shall be effectively grounded. Naturally we are not to intentionally connect a switch’s metal yoke to the earth via a ground rod. What is required is bonding the metal switch yoke to a low impedance, effective, ground-fault current path so that dangerous voltage from a ground-fault can be removed by opening the circuit protection device.”

Bonding Is Not Grounding

In accordance with the NEC section 680.26 (a); The Equipotential bonding required by this section shall be installed to reduce voltage gradients in the pool area. Bonding as just described differs from the primary function of bonding as many electricians are already familiar with as describe in article 250 of the NEC, which states the function of bonding is to provide a low impedance path for ground fault current.

In order to create an environment which is safe electrically around a swimming pool requires a bonding system as in accordance with NEC 680.26, with its primary function being, establishing a grid to equalize the voltage potential in the area of the swimming pool.

Even while swimming or relaxing on the pools deck surface (which are conductive parameter surfaces) they are subject to voltage difference in voltage which may be present within a pool area. Components (and water) are bonded together with a solid #8AWG copper conductor with connections / methods listed in (250.8(a)). As previously mentioned, the Equipotential bonding is not required, however, to extend to any service panel, service equipment or Grounding electrode like a GROUND ROD.

The Equipotential swimming pool Bonding Grid

The bonding grid encompasses multiple areas within the swimming pool and pool areas which surround the pool. Within the swimming pool; included components include the water, pool light and light assembly, hand rails, metal fittings 4” or larger, the concrete pool shell, water and reinforcing steel within the shell (rebar).

In accordance with the California Electric Code, an #8 AWG minimum,  must be installed around the parameter of the pool following the counter of the pool no less than 4-6″ below grade and no less than 18″ but not more than 24″ from the from the pools edge. The bonding conductor is to then connect the pump motor, heater, blower, salt cell generator, water and other components requiring bonding.

Parmeter surfaces

Bonding of perimeter surfaces shall be provided as specified in 680.26 and shall be attached to the pool reinforcing steel or copper grid at a minimum of four points uniformly spaced around the perimeter of the pool. The connections for the bonding grid for nonelectrical parts shall be made in accordance with Article 250.8 of the California Electrical Code. In accordance with California Electric Code 680.26(C) requiring the water to be bonded no less than 9 square inches.

The outer surfaces around the water includes perimeter surfaces no less than 3 feet out from the pool and a height of no less than 5 feet from the ground. This includes paved, unpaved surfaces and any rebar or pipes within these surfaces. i.e. sidewalks, decks, etc… This also includes any object which has the potential of being a conductive surface.

Example

For example, the metal footing straps within footings where patio covers will sometimes connect, speaker brackets, light brackets, diving boards, slides, fencing, gutters, railing etc… The perimeter grid must be no less than 18-24” from the inside walls of the pool and 4-6” in depth. The electrical equipment which includes the pump motors, pool covers, heaters, blowers, salt generators just to name a few.

Fiberglass swimming pools must possess an intentional Equipotential swimming pool bonding plate which is no less than 9 sq inches within the pools water.
The purpose for making these connections electrically to all metals parts is to ensure that they are all within the same electrical potential thereby reducing injury as created by stray voltages which are possible in the ground as well as the piping, (metallic or plastic both are susceptible to stray current) connected to the swimming pool system.

A Ground Rod Is Not An Acceptable Pool Bonding Repair

Repairs to the bonding grid can be extremely complex. Whereas most normal repairs with swimming pools are generally surface accessible, bonding is not. In fact, in cases where the equipotential swimming pool bonding conductor is not installed anywhere, and in order to meet the requirements of the NEC section 680.26, the pool may require a complete remodel of the pool and surrounding areas of the pool.


According to pool builder and pool professional Bill Mc Laughlin of California pools, “the removal of the decking if present is likely necessary to gain access to the pool body (shell) and rebar within in order to make a connection. It also requires gaining access to the light and light fixture niche to make connections there as well.”

Bill further states that “installing a ground rod does absolutely nothing to bond, repair or improve the Equipotential swimming pool bonding of the pool and subsequent protection of the public”.

ground rod repair pool bonding
For any information regarding repairs of pool bonding or California pools, visit Californiapools.com or billmclaughlin@californiapools.com

Los Angeles swimming pool hazardsHow to Verify That a Pool is Safe from Electric Shock

by Mike Holt

Mike Holt has developed this document to help in testing your swimming pool for dangerous electrical hazards.

 

Examples of injuries caused as a direct result of electrical issues within swimming pools

EXAMPLE 1

November 8, 2013 – Charges have been filed against two suspects wanted in the death of a man following an incident at 9999 Westheimer about 7:40 p.m. on August 31.

The suspects, Jason Joseph Gorczyca (w/m, DOB: 3-26-78) and James Ray Pyle (w/m, DOB: 9-6-79), are charged with criminal negligent homicide in the 208th State District Court. The victim, Raul Hernandez, 27, of Richmond, Texas, was pronounced dead on Sept. 6. See here

Photos of the two suspects are not available at this time and neither male is in custody.

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant M. Holbrook and Officer I. Duplechain reported:

Mr. Hernandez was swimming with his family at the Hilton hotel pool at the above addresss. At dusk, the pool lights came on and people in the pool began to complain of being shocked. Hernandez swam to the deep end of the pool to help a child out of the pool. He was able to get the child out of the pool, but could not pull himself out. When bystanders pulled Hernandez out of the pool, he went into cardiac arrest and the bystanders performed CPR on him. Hernandez was then transported to Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital where he later died.

Death An Accident Caused by Electrocution
Case 1

The Harris County Insitute of Forensic Sciences ruled Hernandez’s death an accident caused by electrocution.

A lengthy investigation was conducted by the Houston Police Department Homicide Division, the City of Houston Public Works and Engineering Department, and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The investigation determined the electric current was caused by a short in the pool light. The investigation also determined the wiring to the pool light lacked a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) that would have immediately cut off the current in the event of a shock. The pool also lacked proper equipotential bonding. Both are violations of the National Electric Code.

The investigation revealed the Hilton hotel hired Brown Electric, Inc. in June 2013 to replace the wiring and bonding for the pool. Jason Gorczyca and his supervisor, James Pyle, performed the work in a substandard fashion. Additionally, Pyle did not obtain a permit for the work with the City of Houston.

Case 2

CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The family of a 7-year-old boy who was electrocuted in a swimming pool has filed a lawsuit against the company who made the pool light and a second company who serviced the family’s swimming pool. See here…or here...
Calder Sloan was electrocuted on April 13, 2014, while swimming in his family’s pool in North Miami. His father and attorney will hold a news conference Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the lawsuit further with the media.
The wrongful death complaint claims he was electrocuted due to a faulty pool light and electrical grounding and bonding of the pool and lighting system.

Case 3

Electrical safety is extremely important in and around public swimming pools. Australian Standards require that metal in and around swimming pools have equipotential swimming pool bonding. See here or here..

Equipotential swimming pool bonding is the practice of electrically interconnecting and grounding metallic objects in and around the pool. This is to ensure that if an electrical earth fault occurs, the current can be safely diverted away from bathers.

Some public swimming pools, especially older pools, have been constructed with either faulty or no equipotential swimming pool bonding system, leaving bathers at risk and councils liable. Inadequate equipotential bonding in Australian swimming pools has in the past lead to electric shock and even death in some cases.

Case 4

The CPSC and the American Red Cross are also warning swimmers that electrical hazards around a pool, hot tub or spa can lead to multiple deaths or injuries. This occurs when an individual becomes incapacitated by stray current in the water and one or more persons jump in or reach out to save the victim. Ultimately this may result in electrocutions or serious shocks.

In May 2002, a 14-year-old girl from Arlington, Texas, was electrocuted when wiring problems in an apartment swimming pool’s underwater lights charged the water with electricity. A 16-year-old boy was seriously shocked when he jumped in the pool to try to save the young girl. Another teenager used a fiberglass shepherd’s hook (a non-conductive device) to pull both victims from the water. See here..

Case 5

A 43-year-old man was electrocuted in the Northern California area on Sunday after he jumped into the swimming pool to rescue his daughter who was in the pool and turning blue.

Marianne Favro of the NBC Bay Area news reported that James Tramel of Burlingame was electrocuted after jumping in to try to save his daughter. He died a short time later at the medical center. His daughter remains in critical condition; a 6-year-old boy, an 8-year-old girl and a 45-year old woman were all treated for related injuries, and released.

Investigators suspect faulty pool wiring sent electricity surging through the water.

Terrifying video of kids shocked in pool

3 Children Jolted by Electrical Current in Pool Faulty electrical wiring

Young father electrocuted repairing the pool light

Tips on how to avoid electrocution in a pool

 

Other Tragedies Caused by Electric Shock
Sep 3, 2016 Raleigh, NC. A 17 year old girl was found unresponsive in a community swimming pool.

She was the lifeguard on duty and was shocked when reaching into the water to check pool chemistry. Another pool worker received an shock trying to pull her from the water. A faulty pool pump and broken grounding wire are cause. The required GFCI was not installed. The pool was in correct configuration for the 1978 NEC. Some rewiring in 2011 should have required a permit which would have triggered an inspection requiring a GFCI. Community pools in some areas must be inspected annually.

May 29, 2016 Silver Spring Township, PA. An 8 year old girl was among 8 kids swimming in a backyard pool.

When the pool light was turned on 7 other kids were able to get out of the water. The cause was a faulty pool light circuit. Last known in critical condition.

Jun 27, 2016 Phoenix, AZ. 27 year old man in a private pool was trying to repair a broken light fixture.

He was shocked and killed while working on the light. The exact cause of the accident is unknown.

May 28, 2016 Wildwood Crest, NJ. 34 year man was found at the bottom of a motel pool unconscious.

The exact cause of the accident is unknown but a pool drain is suspected. Owner said pool was recently inspected and bonded. Last known in critical condition.

Mar 27, 2016 Palm Springs, FL. Six people were shocked in a private swimming pool, one of them a man who jumped in to rescue his daughter.

He was overcome by electric shock and pronounced dead at the hospital. The 5 others were treated, and one young girl remained hospitalized in critical condition. Faulty pool wiring is suspected as the cause. Homes were built in 1963, but not sure of the age of the swimming pool.

Apr 23, 2014 North Miami Beach, FL. A 7 year old boy was electrocuted at his home in the family swimming pool.

An older brother felt a shock and urge the victim and a younger brother to get out. The victim did not hear his brother, and immediately thereafter was killed. A rescuer performing CPR put his hand in the water and felt a shock. A faulty swimming pool light is the likely cause of the accident. The presence of a GFCI was not mentioned in the newspaper reports.

Sep, 2013 Houston, TX. An older man was killed in a swimming pool attempting to rescue a child.

Faulty pool lights were suspected as the cause. Date approximate (Labor Day weekend, 2013).

NEC Equipotential Bonding Code 680.26