plastic pipe grounding

Greetings Inspection superheroes. I have come across yet another instance of the only apparent ground connection runs to a metal water line…which actually originates from the plastic main line coming up through the floor. I don’t want to be presumptuous but wondering if there are ever cases where an electrician simply has the habit of grounding to the water lines (like in the old days) But i know i can be missing something. I posted this issue before and one reply was
Since the buried pipe is plastic there is no water pipe electrode but there is still a metallic water piping system. That means that the system must be bonded to the service neutral, hence the copper bonding jumper you’ve mentioned. Before I would go reporting this as ungrounded I would take a closer look. Given that there are multiple inspections stickers I would guess that the one required electrode does exist. Certainly a few photo’s would help.
makes sense to me, perhaps there are other grounds in the system which i simply can not see through a jumble of conductors.

wondering if others have encountered this issue
ungounded in MN

The bold seems familiar, I believe that I wrote this. :cool:

I’m guessing that you’re now asking if others have seen a system where there are no grounding electrodes present? I’ve done many service upgrades I can’t recall one that didn’t have at least one electrode.

yes rob you are indeed the author of that post which i appreciated. so you say you always come up with one…do you mean you search until you find a rod, even if buried…or find what appears to be an uffer…etc? or how much stuff can qualify as ‘electrodes?’ this is great info since i hate leaving a place without being able to verify a ground. sure i can refer the matter to an electrician but its still more fun to find and verify a ground
thanks for all info
mike in MN

I would guess that I’m at a disadvantage here because almost all of the upgrades around this area involve houses with metallic water pipes which are always used as an electrode. We have seen some homes with plastic water pipes fed from wells but those typically have one or two ground rod electrodes to satisfy the GES requirement. The use of a CEE is relatively new (last 10 years or so) around here so I wouldn’t expect a 20+ year old home to have one. Basically two things are required when there is a plastic water main but a metallic piping system within the house.

One is a GES (grounding eletrode system) which can be a simple as two ground rods.
Two would be that the metallic piping system be bonded as outlined in NEC 250.104.

Thanks Rob…if i may be so bold as to venture yet another inquiry…what about when you find the vintage home which has a new well system installed but still has nothing but the one old ‘lightning rod’…is this ‘defect’ in your opinion? ‘repairs recommended?’ say nothing?

I’m not an HI but I will say this, every service should have a connection to a properly installed GES. If it’s doesn’t have one then IMO it’s defective.

You said lightning rod, is this part of a lightning protection system?

lightning rod is what i always heard the ground rod called…in the old days (im an old fart)…most older homes around here, in my experience, had the one rod driven into the ground with a large ground fastened to it someplace on the outside of the house . sometimes a pipe, but the rod is commonplace. only after becoming an inspector did i begin to hear a differentiation between ‘lightning rod’ and grounding electrode. depends on who i talk to…some have said this was to disperse a lightining strike alone, some have said this is the grounding rod. now i understand that two rods are needed…or a ground connection to the water system. therefore since i hear varied stories, i believe that there are folks who believe this one rod driven in the ground (perhaps misnamed ‘lightning rod’) is a suitable GEC. in fact thats all i have on my place which i dismantled and rebuilt and rewired but the final hookup and inspection was done professionally. i have no other ground since i plumbed the house with cpvc. apparently the elec inspector was ok with that.
always trying to ‘get it’ in MN
(aka mike in MN)