How do I splice a "Grounding Electrode Conductor" from the breaker panel?

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Domino Effect... I need a new water pipe to the street. They wanna replace steel with plastic. Home built in 1972 uses the water pipe as the "Grounding Electrode", which will be severed at the other end of the house.
Everybody tells me a different story, but the common result is that you just can't bridge the cut pipes with a wire. Of course, this happened on a holiday weekend, so I can't go to the source. With all the budget cutbacks and hour reductions, I'm not sure I can still access the inspector before he comes out to inspect.
If I understand NEC 250.64C correctly, the "Grounding Electrode Conductor" must be continuous with NO Splices!!... EXCEPT that you do have four options to splice it... "Irreversible Compression Connector" (listed for that application) seems to be what I want.
What the heck is that? Is that anything like a butt splice? The guy at Home Depot shows me to the Electricos aisle, but has no more than a dumb look for help.
You can't believe everything you read on the interweb, but there's discussion of using a standard compression clamp with the bolt head cut off to make it irreversible????...except if you cut off the "green" head, does that make it not approved?
I have limited experience with the electrical inspector, but it seems that what he had for breakfast affects the pass/fail decision more than what the code says. When I go get the permit, I'd like to take one along and show it to the inspector..."Is this gonna pass???"
What do I look for in a splice (listed for the application)?
++++++++++++++++++++++
While the topic is open, I'll broaden the question.
Current "Grounding Electrode Conductor" goes from the breaker panel up to the attic, over and down to hook to the water heater cold pipe. That pipe goes down the wall and connects to a 22' pipe in or under the concrete, not sure which, to the outside spigot. But either should be a better ground than two ground rods 25 feet away.
There is some verbiage in the NEC about being able to use a water pipe as the "Grounding Electrode" as long is you hook to it < 5' from where it hits the dirt. Not sure if that applies to this situation... I've got about 7 feet. I could easily extend the wire with the above-mentioned splice to the place where the same pipe enters the concrete. Makes the actual electrical performance worse, but maybe meets code if I do it? And if I bridge the cut pipe at the other end of the house, I'm still no worse off than I was before I started. Yes, I understand that the electrical code doesn't care about where I started 40 years ago.
The alternative seems to be to add 20' to the wire, run it down the outside wall and use the two ground rods.
Every option hinges on the splice issue. IF I could just connect a new wire to the middle of the existing wire, I'd be good to go. Installing two ground rods is probably easier than trying to interpret the electrical code.
I don't want to replace the Grounding Electrode Conductor. I watched an electrician snake wires down the wall past the input wires to the breaker box, but I'm not willing to risk arc-fault == death to try that myself. I could run the grounding electrode conductor out the bottom of the box and along the garage wall, but I'd rather not do that either, if I can just splice the wire in the attic.
I'm an electronic engineer, so I understand volts and amps and impedance. What I don't understand is what it takes to predict inspector approval based on an NEC that says you can't do that except that you have four options to do exactly that...as long as you use items approved for that application...GRRRRR!!!
The easy option is that the plumber has an electrical guy who will make it work for a mere $400 more. I dislike that option!
I'm in Washington County, Oregon, USA
Suggestions? Thanks, mike
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mike wrote:

Just run a new grounding conductor from the panel out the nearest side wall and to two new 8' ground rods. Forget about the old water supply as the ground, just bond the remaining metallic piping in the house to ground at the panel.
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On 5/26/2013 9:21 AM, Pete C. wrote:

Thanks for the advice, but that's not what I wanted advice on. I want advice on splicing.
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I would leave the existing cold water service line as is, and just move the new plastic one far enough to install.
The old now unused water line should still provide a good ground but add 2 ground rods all bonded together electrically...
How old is your main service, if its still fuses it might be time to upgrade to a new main breaker box.
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On 05/26/13 12:51 pm, bob haller wrote:

The "ground connection" to the cold water service is not to *provide* a ground but to ground the pipes so that they do not become live and electrocute the plumber.
Perce
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

Let's say that a different way or two:
* A "ground" to a water pipe is for the benefit of the water distribution system, not the electrical supply.
* The electrical distribution system will work just fine without a water-pipe ground - a water-pipe ground in NO WAY influences the electrical system. The purpose of a water-pipe ground, and its only purpose, is to protect the water system plumber from an electrical shock.
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after finding ground rods rotted away, the old water line was still servicable.
this when I was a dish dealer for awhile and went looking for ground connections
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I would not an expert on the current code on this subject. But I believe the above is incorrect. I believe in the past an underground water service pipe was allowed to serve as the service ground. And I think even today it can serve as part of it, but needs to be supplemented by other grounding methods, eg ground rods.

It does if it's an older system and the water pipe is the only earth ground.

Per above, I believe that is incorrect.
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It used to be... but hasn't been for at least 20 years.

Your understanding is incorrect. The *sole* reason that metal water pipes need to be tied to the electrical system's grounding electrodes is to ensure that the plumbing system is at ground potential, no matter what. The requirements for grounding the electrical system are the same, whether the water pipes are metal or plastic.

That is no longer permitted in new construction.

Your belief is incorrect. HeyBub has it exactly right.
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wrote:

So what, did all those older houses disappear or have other grounding means added by magic?

Read:
NEC 2011 250.52 Grounding Electrodes (A) Electrodes Permitted for Grounding (1) Metal Underground Water Pipe
Under that section it says that an underground water pipe that is 10 ft long is permitted for use as a grounding electrode. It goes on to list the other permitted electrodes as well.

Even if what you say is true, which per NEC cited about I don't believe is correct, HeyBub would still be wrong because he made no distinction between new services and old ones that rely solely on the water pipe for grounding. They have no other grounding electrode and without the water pipe connection, the system would be ungrounded and a danger.
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No, all that's necessary is that it meet Code at the time of installation.

Keep reading, and you will discover that the Code does *not* permit that to be the *only* grounding electrode.

Only because you didn't read far enough... :-)

Yes, and that's why, when the service from the municipal water supply is replaced with plastic, the home *must* have an additional grounding electrode added.
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wrote:

Yes, which is why what Heybub posted, is incorrect and dangerous:
"The electrical distribution system will work just fine without a water-pipe ground - a water-pipe ground in NO WAY influences the electrical system. The purpose of a water-pipe ground, and its only purpose, is to protect the water system plumber from an electrical shock. "
On one of those older houses, it IS THE GROUND and removing it would effect the electrical system and it's safety.

Read what I posted and you'll see that is exactly what I said, which, for convenience, I'll repost:
"I would not (be) an expert on the current code on this subject. But I believe the above is incorrect. I believe in the past an underground water service pipe was allowed to serve as the service ground. And I think even today it can serve as part of it, but needs to be supplemented by other grounding methods, eg ground rods. "
So, why did you say I was wrong and Heybub was 100% correct?

Unbelievable arrogance.

I never said otherwise. What you said was wrong. You agreed with Heybub that a water pipe cannot be used as part of a grounding system and that it's only tied to ground to prevent a plumber from being shocked. Now, apparently, you agree that per NEC an underground water pipe can indeed can be one of the grounding electrodes, it just can't be the *only* one.
Feel free to apologize at any time.
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Which is why it's a Code violation to do that...

I think we've all been misunderstanding each other.

That's not what he said.

Wait, you want *me* to apologize because *you* misread HeyBub's post?
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wrote:

Which is why I posted to correct what Heybub had said. He posted:
"Let's say that a different way or two:
* A "ground" to a water pipe is for the benefit of the water distribution system, not the electrical supply.
* The electrical distribution system will work just fine without a water-pipe ground - a water-pipe ground in NO WAY influences the electrical system. The purpose of a water-pipe ground, and its only purpose, is to protect the water system plumber from an electrical shock. "
Good to see you agree that I'm right.

No, I haven't misunderstood anything at all.

Both of you failed to recognize that:
A - In the older homes the water pipe could be the only grounding electrode.
B - Even today a water pipe may be used as a grounding electrode as part of a grounding system

No, I want you to apologize for claiming that I was wrong, when everything I posted is correct and what you and Heybub posted is what's wrong. Here is what you posted:
"Your understanding is incorrect. The *sole* reason that metal water pipes need to be tied to the electrical system's grounding electrodes is to ensure that the plumbing system is at ground potential, no matter what. The requirements for grounding the electrical system are the same, whether the water pipes are metal or plastic. "
Per the NEC, NEC 2011 250.52 A 1, which you apparently now accept, it clearly lists an underground water pipe as one type of GROUNDING CONDUCTOR which may be used as part of a grounding system. It's listed right there along with ground rods, Ufers, etc. Therefore it's not true that the sole purpose of connecting the water pipe to the grounding system is to ensure that it as at the same potential. That would be BONDING.
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No, all that's necessary is that it meet Code at the time of installation.

Keep reading, and you will discover that the Code does *not* permit that to be the *only* grounding electrode.

Only because you didn't read far enough... :-)

Yes, and that's why, when the service from the municipal water supply is replaced with plastic, the home *must* have an additional grounding electrode added.
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wrote:

Whenever any changes are made, the resulting installation must meet the current new code, even if it originally met the older code. This is true of all locations I have ever heard of.
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wrote: .

Does the NEC state how the ground wire is to be attached to the rod? If the connections are via a standard clamp to the rod I'm having a problem understanding why a cable splice doesn't allow using a split bolt, which is a very tight clamp also.
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On 5/27/2013 4:26 PM, Doug Miller wrote:

But as you agree later, there is not a code problem with houses built with just a water pipe electrode when that was all that was required.

Trader is right. You are wrong. You backpedal in later posts.
A metal water service pipe, at least 10 ft in the earth, MUST be used as part of the earthing electrode system, just as it has been required since time began.
A "supplemental" electrode for metal water service pipe has been required for a long time if the metal pipe might be replaced by plastic. With plastic becoming more common, a "supplemental" electrode is now required. But a metal municipal water system is the best earthing electrode that is available at a house.
If the water service pipe is plastic, interior metal water pipe systems must be "bonded" to the ground system with rules that are not quite the same as using the water service as an earthing electrode.
For a lot of new construction a "concrete encased electrode" (commonly called a Ufer ground) must be created and included as part of the earthing system. This is a good earthing electrode (and is used as the "supplemental" electrode, where required). Ground rods are lousy.

Which is irrelevant to trader's point.

HeyBub has it exactly wrong, just as he has at least 2 times previously.
===========================If I understand the OP right, there will no longer be a metal water service pipe 10 ft metal in the ground. So it no longer needs to be connected as an earthing electrode. The interior water pipe system needs to be bonded, but it is by the connection at the water heater. I have not read why the existing ground rods are not adequate, but the distance seems long. As others suggest, I would probably install 2 new rods 8 ft apart with a short run to the service panel.
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Thank you Bud. I was hoping you would comment. I was getting a little lonely here..... What's amazing is how some are quick to be very assertive and tell you that you are wrong, then when it turns out they are wrong, instead of just saying something like, "yeah, I wasn't thinking right on that one....", instead they try to maintain that they are right.
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On 5/29/2013 10:01 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I got to talk with the inspector yesterday. His answer was, "yes, I know what the code says, but I also understand common sense." He'll allow a bonding bridge in the attic to attach the wires to the ground rods.
He also said that he wasn't gonna go look in the attic anyway, so he'd never know. Looks like I'm good to go. Just takes $100 for the permit.
Turns out that I have a poor-man's Ufer ground. There's one 22' pipe running in/under the concrete slab of the garage.
I got curious about he path and built a poor-mans pipe locator. Wound some turns on a ferrite rod and plugged it into the microphone input of my Dell Axim X51v PDA. I have a program that does a FFT spectrum analysis with 70 dB dynamic range. Hooked a function generator at 5 kHz...peak response of the inductor...from the water spigot to ground. The width of the signal path over the pipe in concrete was way wider than the width over a wire.
When the dust settles on the repiping project, I'm gonna experiment with differential coils to pinpoint the center of the field. Any ideas/references on sensor design?
Sounds like an opportunity for a pipe locator that plugs into your phone. With several small signal sources at different frequencies, you could use the spectrum display to map all the underground systems in the area in one pass. It's too complicated for the average operator, but could easily be automated. Would be a great preliminary service device.
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