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  1. #1
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    Default Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    I know that after 1 January 1973, all exterior outlets were to be GFCI protected. My question is if a home has a residential sewage treatment system, should the pump be plugged into a GFCI protected outlet or is it exempted? I ask this question based on the fact that you don't want to lose power to the septic treatment system and if the GFCI should trip, then the system would be shut down and unless there is some warning device that would alert the home owner, then they would not be aware that the system is shutdown. I have seen these systems plugged into GFCI plugs and non-GFCI plugs. Which would be correct? Thank-you ladies and gentlemen.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    GFCI protected, no exemption for it.

    If the pump shuts down when the GFCI shuts off, the alarm warning light should light.

    Much better to light the alarm warning light than to have one spouse discover the other spouse laying there after they did not come back in from 'just going out to check the system' ... yeah, they 'went out' alright ... as in 'lights out' for them.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Check with the AHJ, in WI it can be exempted.

    Exception. This is a department exception to the requirements in NEC 210.8 (A).

    Exception: Ground−fault circuit−interrupter protection shall not be required for a single receptacle providing power for sump or sewage pumps where an accessible ground−fault circuit−interrupter protected receptacle is located within 900 mm (3 ft) of the non−GFCIprotected receptacle.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    You can avoid the GFCI requirement if you use a 240 volt system.

    .
    or a direct wired system


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    You can avoid the GFCI requirement if you use a 240 volt system.

    As Jerry stated there no longer exceptions to the GFCI rules in the NEC. Some states like NJ have kept some exceptions.
    Thank you gentlemen. I did check with my county inspector's office and they informed me that YES INDEED, it must be on a GFCI protected outlet. Here in Lowndes County Mississippi. Thank you for all the good info, but Mr. Meier wouldn't 240 be just a little over-kill on the power?!


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    I simply mentioned that because the Article 210 GFCI requirements in the NEC are for 120 volt receptacles. If someone were truly concerned about using GFCI protection you could switch to a 240 volt system and forget the GFCI altogether.

    Also as Jack stated you could hardwire and forget the GFCI too.
    Thank you Mr. Meier. As I said, I am still learning and will pick all your brains as much as I am allowed to.


  7. #7
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    Thumbs up Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    No problem, we're all here to learn, share ideas and maybe from time to time have a few laughs.

    A few other thoughts, the GFCI protection mentioned in your OP is based on the location of the receptacle and is there for the protection of an individual who may unplug the equipment and plug in a portable 120 volt tool. Although the GFCI may open when the equipment is faulty it's not there to protect the equipment. If you installed the same equipment in a location that did not require GFCI protection no GFCI protection would be required for that same piece of equipment.
    Excellent information Sir. I am adding this to my library for sure. Thank-you.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    I had to speak once at a sh !t contractors convention (don't hate, that's what they called it).
    You never have seen so many people excited about S@#$%^
    Anyways, the GFCI concern was of utmost interest as mentioned in this post. I let the contractors & designers of these systems know that I would look the other way, as it were, if the cord caps were cutoff in order to hard wire. Proper cord termination connectors and possible strain relief would be enforced. Just a note: I have not encounted an exterior alarm that did was not both the audible & visual type??


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    I let the contractors & designers of these systems know that I would look the other way, as it were, if the cord caps were cutoff in order to hard wire.
    Why look the other way, simply order the pumps without the cord and plug ... they are also listed that way from many manufacturers, that way they do not have to install the GFCI protection (no receptacle present) and you do not have to 'look the other way' as they have not created a code violation.

    One does not need to 'look the other way' just to appease people, provide guidance and let them know of the units which are available without the cord and plug attached - the manufacturers will take care of the rest of it.

    What would you do if someone was electrocuted from one of those units you approved with the cut of cap? 'You' "approved" it knowing that it was against code and therefore "illegal", now someone is dead, and someone is looking for a bunch of money to retire on because of that death, do you want them looking to you (without the benefit of the municipality or county to support and defend you and protect you? When you approved that by looking the other way you stepped outside your authority and the municipality or county can hang you out to dry without spending a dime toward your defense. Is it worth it?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Why look the other way, simply order the pumps without the cord and plug ... they are also listed that way from many manufacturers, that way they do not have to install the GFCI protection (no receptacle present) and you do not have to 'look the other way' as they have not created a code violation.

    One does not need to 'look the other way' just to appease people, provide guidance and let them know of the units which are available without the cord and plug attached - the manufacturers will take care of the rest of it.

    What would you do if someone was electrocuted from one of those units you approved with the cut of cap? 'You' "approved" it knowing that it was against code and therefore "illegal", now someone is dead, and someone is looking for a bunch of money to retire on because of that death, do you want them looking to you (without the benefit of the municipality or county to support and defend you and protect you? When you approved that by looking the other way you stepped outside your authority and the municipality or county can hang you out to dry without spending a dime toward your defense. Is it worth it?
    Amen, well said.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Yep. As the AHJ I can approve materials and/or modifications if I deem it equal or better.
    The cord used, whether with a cap or without, is of the same material. As an AHJ I am not teatherd by Manf. spec.. I can use Manf. spec. as just one of the tools in assessing suitability.

    Please refer to NEC 90-4 "waive specific requirements"... "permit alternate methods"..
    NEC 90-5(b) I can utilize "permissive rules"
    (c), "expanatory material" in my capacity to inform myself or others (but not inforceable).
    Note 110.3(a) (1) fpn, "suitability may be evidence by listing or labeling"..
    Note 110.3(b) states that listing or labeling shall be installed according to instructions included. I've yet to have read in any of the sewage pump manf. instuctions that the cord/cap cannot be field modified.
    Note that in various places in the NEC the term "practical safeguarding' is used as a primary motive in assessing suitability.

    You all should know that field modifications are an everyday reality in the real world and it is an AHJ who is given the responsibility to judge practical safeguarding and suitability.
    I pride myself in using this responsibility wisely, and my contractors appreciate this.
    If a contractor finds himself in the real world situation where he brought a cord/cap unit by mistake, or, he finds the situation is not conducive for cord/cap application, or, he found a deal on bulk cord/cap units, he can continue with the installation as long as 'practical safe guarding of materials and personal are achived. I will be the one judging this practical safe guarding as required of my profession.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    Yep. As the AHJ I can approve materials and/or modifications if I deem it equal or better.
    But not do so willy nilly as you wish:
    - 90.4 Enforcement. - - This Code is intended to be suitable for mandatory application by governmental bodies that exercise legal jurisdiction over electrical installations, including signaling and communications systems, and for use by insurance inspectors. The authority having jurisdiction for enforcement of the Code has the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules, for deciding on the approval of equipment and materials, and for granting the special permission contemplated in a number of the rules.
    - - By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety.
    - - This Code may require new products, constructions, or materials that may not yet be available at the time the Code is adopted. In such event, the authority having jurisdiction may permit the use of the products, constructions, or materials that comply with the most recent previous edition of this Code adopted by the jurisdiction.
    - 90.7 Examination of Equipment for Safety. - - For specific items of equipment and materials referred to in this Code, examinations for safety made under standard conditions provide a basis for approval where the record is made generally available through promulgation by organizations properly equipped and qualified for experimental testing, inspections of the run of goods at factories, and service-value determination through field inspections. This avoids the necessity for repetition of examinations by different examiners, frequently with inadequate facilities for such work, and the confusion that would result from conflicting reports on the suitability of devices and materials examined for a given purpose.
    - - It is the intent of this Code that factory-installed internal wiring or the construction of equipment need not be inspected at the time of installation of the equipment, except to detect alterations or damage, if the equipment has been listed by a qualified electrical testing laboratory that is recognized as having the facilities described in the preceding paragraph and that requires suitability for installation in accordance with this Code.
    - Special Permission. The written consent of the authority having jurisdiction.

    Too many AHJ get big heads and decide that they may do whatever they want to do, even when not permitted to do so in the code.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    I've yet to have read in any of the sewage pump manf. instuctions that the cord/cap cannot be field modified.

    Have you read that it can be field modified? I was taught early on not to approve a modification unless the manufacturer sends a letter saying the modification is approved. The installer should be ordering what they need and not modifying stuff.

    How many times have you read "Any modifications will result in any and all warranties being voided" on equipment?

    Yeah, cutting the cord and hard wiring it might seem simple, but you just gave the manufacturer an out. Heck, even the installer can now say you approved it and walk away. Like Jerry said, worst case scenario, if someone dies, all fingers will be pointing at you.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    Have you read that it can be field modified? I was taught early on not to approve a modification unless the manufacturer sends a letter saying the modification is approved. The installer should be ordering what they need and not modifying stuff.

    How many times have you read "Any modifications will result in any and all warranties being voided" on equipment?

    Yeah, cutting the cord and hard wiring it might seem simple, but you just gave the manufacturer an out. Heck, even the installer can now say you approved it and walk away. Like Jerry said, worst case scenario, if someone dies, all fingers will be pointing at you.
    Yes, an AHJ can and does approve all types of installations in the field on a daily basis. And performing this duty is not "willy nilly".


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    Yes, an AHJ can and does approve all types of installations in the field on a daily basis. And performing this duty is not "willy nilly".
    Since this part started, I've thrown this out to several electricians at inspections, not in a way that I was condemning or approving cutting off the plugs but as in: ... hmmm I've had electricians tell me that they just cut the plug off the cords and it solves the problems (and the 'problem' at hand varied, but cutting the plug off the cord and permanently wiring the cord into the outlet box would 'solve' the problem at hand) ... the electrical contractors - ALL of them - would look at me as though I had lost my marbles and tell me 'You KNOW that is NOT ALLOWED, don't you? That would be in violation of the listing.' ... to which I would respond 'I always like getting the right answers back, especially the right answers to questions I have not even asked yet.' Big relief to them, and my 'research' has lead me to realize that most electricians understand and realize that there are some things one just *does not do* ... such as cutting the plugs off cords.

    What I don't explain to them is that their wording is technically incorrect as cutting the plug off the cord is not 'a violation of the listing', nor is it a 'violation of the code', but that cutting the plug off the cord makes the equipment not installed in accordance with its listing and labeling information and *that* is the *code violation* - they can cut all the plugs off all the cord and plug sets they want ... just do not use them for anything electrical and it is not a *code violation* per se ...

    Depending on where they cut all those plugs off all those cord and plug sets, it may be against the law ... but the code is not going to put them in jail for going into a Big Box store and cutting all the plugs off all the cord and plug sets - someone else might, but the code won't.

    Not unlike cutting the heads off parking meters one does not own ...



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Exterior Plug for Residential Sewage Treatment System.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    Yes, an AHJ can and does approve all types of installations in the field on a daily basis. And performing this duty is not "willy nilly".
    I am happy to see that you have the cojones to make these decisions.

    I had been inspecting "industrial control" panels (and building them before that) for years prior to them being in the NEC. Without the approval of an AHJ it would have been a nightmare.

    And as a manager of an electrical operation at a university, I was faced with purchasing (and a budget) a 6-pole lighting contactor. I could buy the one for $250 (listed marine duty) or the one for $850 (UL listed). The only difference was when they came off the assemble line the appropriate "label" was added and the price calculated. I purchased and installed the $250 one and didn't loose any sleep over it. It was at that moment that I realized it was the UL label that made the product pricey not any difference in the manufacturing. The pump described here is manufactured with or without a power cord that is the only difference in product. The testing by UL and others is different because one is tested with the cord on it and thus listed and labeled. The other is tested without the cord on it and listed and labeled accordingly. I would approve the cutting of the cord for hard-wiring.

    Sometimes you not only have to be a knowledgeable AHJ but need to be practical... Good job, Bob.

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

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